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Insights into the Tectonic Fractures in the Yanchang Formation Interbedded Sandstone‐Mudstone of the Ordos Basin Based on Core Data and Geomechanical Models

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The distribution and intensity of tectonic fractures within geologic units are important to hydrocarbon exploration and development. Taken the Upper Triassic Yanchang Formation interbedded sandstone‐mudstone in the Ordos Basin as an example, this study used the finite element method (FEM) based on geomechanical models to study the development of tectonic fractures. The results show that the sandstones tend to generate tectonic fractures more easily than mudstones with the same layer thickness, and the highest degree of tectonic fractures will be developed when the sandstone‐mudstone thickness ratio is about 5.0. A possible explanation is proposed for the tectonic fracture development based on two important factors of rock brittleness and mechanical layer thickness. Generally, larger rock brittleness and thinner layer thickness will generate more tectonic fractures. In interbedded sandstone‐mudstone formations, the rock brittleness increases with the increasing mechanical layer thickness, hence, these two factors will achieve a balance for the development of tectonic fractures when the sandstone‐mudstone thickness ratio reaches a specific value, and the development degree of tectonic fractures is the highest at this value.
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Keywords: Ordos Basin; Yanchang Formation; interbedded sandstone‐mudstone formations; rock rupture value; sandstone‐mudstone thickness ratio; tectonic fractures

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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