A Multi-Disciplinary, Multi-Scale Approach to Fold-Fracture Relationships
at Raplee Monocline, Utah
Personnel: David D. Pollard, Nicolas Bellahsen, Ian Mynatt, Tricia Fiore
Collaborators: Ronaldo Borja, Rafe Mazzeo, George Hilley
Sponsor: NSF Collaborations in Mathematical Geosciences (CMG)
Description: This project brings together researchers in Geosciences, Civil Engineering and Mathematics to generate new approaches to the problem of relating folding and fracturing. The approach starts in the field, at Raplee Monocline in Utah. The timing, style and relationships between various fracture sets are being examined both for large scale, fold-wide characteristics and for site-specific meter scale propagation and interaction mechanisms. Next, in conjunction with the NSF sponsored Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM), an airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM) survey will provide a high resolution topographic map of the fold. These data will be used to constrain the geometry of the fold and examine various structural and geomorphologic processes.

By using the mathematics of differential geometry to examine models generated from the ALSM data, we plan to examine various geometric attributes of the fold and find relationships between fold geometry and fracture characteristics. The geometric and fracture data also will be used to constrain damage mechanics based finite element models, which will reproduce observed fracture patterns and fold geometries. These models will inform us about the interactions between remote stress, local stress perturbations generated by pre-existing fractures, fold geometry and lithology. We anticipate this combination of methodologies will lead to predictive capabilities for fracture patterns and densities given specific geologic data from outcrop or subsurface aqueducts and reservoirs.