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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Relationships Among In-Situ Stress, 
Fractures and Faults, and Fluid Flow: 
Monterey Formation, Santa Maria Basin, California

Thomas Finkbeiner, Colleen A. Barton, and Mark D. Zoback2


We used borehole televiewer (BHTV) data from four wells within the onshore and offshore Santa Maria basin, California, to investigate the relationships among fracture distribution, orientation, and variation with depth and in-situ stress. Our analysis of stress-induced well-bore breakouts shows a uniform northeast maximum horizontal stress (SH max) orientation in each well. This direction is consistent with the SH max direction determined from well-bore breakouts in other wells in this region, the northwest trend of active fold axes, and kinematic inversion of nearby earthquake focal plane mechanisms.

In contrast to the uniformity of the stress field, fracture orientation, dip, and frequency vary considerably from well to well and within each well. With depth, fractures can be divided into distinct subsets on the basis of fracture frequency and orientation, which correlate with changes of lithology and physical properties. Although factors such as tectonic history, diagenesis, and structural variations obviously have influenced fracture distribution, integration of the in-situ stress and fracture data sets indicates that many of the fractures, faults, and bedding planes are active, small-scale strike-slip and reverse faults in the current northeast-trending transpressive stress field. In fact, we observed local breakout rotations in the wells, providing kinematic evidence for recent shear motion along fracture

©Copyright 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

1Manuscript received April 15, 1996; revised manuscript received December 27, 1996; final acceptance July 15, 1997.

2Department of Geophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-2215.

We wish to thank Tom Zalan of the Chevron U.S.A. Production Company for providing the offshore well data, Unocal Corporation for providing the data on the onshore well, and Marcia McLaren from Pacific Gas and Electric Company for providing the earthquake focal mechanisms used in the stress inversion analysis. The data used as background seismicity in Figure 1 were extracted from the World Wide Web of the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN) catalog operated jointly by the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech and the U.S. Geological Survey, both in Pasadena, California. We appreciate the comments and helpful discussions from Daniel Moos, Steve Graham, and Lev Vernik.

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