Numerical Studies of Faulting Related Deformation at the Tectonic and Reservoir Scales: Constraints on the Structural History
of Elk Hills Oil Field, CA
Personnel: P. Fiore and D. D. Pollard
Collaborators: W. Currin, D. Miner, R. Girbacea, S. Stearns, W. Long (Occidental of Elk Hills)
Sponsor: Stanford Rock Fracture Project
Description: This project includes the use of numerical methods to (1) constrain geologic processes at Elk Hills Oil Field, a growth fault related structure; and (2) investigate the extent to which elastic models may be useful in examining deformation within a thrust fault related structure. At the large scale, the tectonic setting within which Elk Hills developed is constrained through elastic models that demonstrate how the deformation induced vertical displacement field at the site varies under differing remote loading conditions. A more detailed investigation, in which stratigraphic features that record the growth of specific faults are integrated with elastic models, constrains the chronological slip history of the faults within the field. Correlation between the modeled and interpreted vertical displacement fields and fault slip distributions indicates that iterative elastic models can provide insight into the stress fields at Elk Hills. Future studies will focus on understanding why, in certain locations, modeled fault slip distributions do not adequately match the corresponding interpreted fault slip distributions; and also what modeled stress fields suggest about the pattern of faulting related fractures at Elk Hills.

Elastically modeled vertical deformation of a surface representing a mid-Miocene stratigraphic horizon at Elk Hills. The inset shows the interpreted vertical deformation, as imaged within the 3D seismic survey.
Selected Publications:

Fiore, P., Pollard, D. D., Currin, W., and Miner, D. M., Mechanical and stratigraphic constraints on the evolution of faulting at Elk Hills, CA. In preparation for the Journal of Structural Geology.