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AAPG Bulletin

Abstract

AAPG Bulletin, V. 98, No. 11 (November 2014), P. 24112437.

Copyright copy2014. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

DOI: 10.1306/07141413144

Natural fractures in a United Kingdom shale reservoir analog, Cleveland Basin, northeast England

Jonathan Imber,1 Howard Armstrong,2 Sarah Clancy,3 Susan Daniels,4 Liam Herringshaw,5 Ken McCaffrey,6 Joel Rodrigues,7 João Trabucho-Previous HitAlexandreTop,8 and Cassandra Warren9

1 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
2 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
3 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
4 Geospatial Research Ltd., Suites 7 and 8, Harrison House, Hawthorn Terrace, Durham DH1 4EL, United Kingdom; [email protected]
5 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
6 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
7 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
8 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]
9 CeREES Centre for Geoenergy and Durham Energy Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom; [email protected]

ABSTRACT

Faults and fractures within the well-exposed Lower Jurassic Cleveland Ironstone and Whitby Mudstone Formations may provide insights into the tectonic history of gas-prospective, Mississippian shale in northern England. Subvertical opening mode fractures occur throughout the Cleveland Basin. Bed-parallel fractures, some of which contain blocky calcite fills, occur preferentially within well-bedded, clay-rich mudstones of the Cleveland Ironstone and Whitby Mudstone Formations at Jet Wyke and Port Mulgrave. Subvertical fractures display abutting or curving-parallel relationships with under- and overlying bed-parallel fractures. Together, these observations suggest that bed-parallel fractures, at times, acted as free surfaces. Some bed-parallel fractures curve toward and branch from calcite-filled fault slip surfaces, indicating that bed-parallel fracturing and normal faulting were synchronous, occurring within a regional stress field with vertical maximum principal stress. This apparent paradox can be explained by normal compaction, followed by cementation and coupling between pore pressure and minimum horizontal stress driven by poroelastic deformation or incipient slip along critically stressed normal faults, causing elevation of horizontal stress in excess of the vertical stress within clay-rich units. Propagation of bed-parallel fractures was enhanced by dilatational strains adjacent to normal fault planes. Bed-parallel fractures have not been observed within more BLTN13144eq1-rich units at the top of the Whitby Mudstone Formation at Whitby East Cliff, or within well-bedded, clay-rich shale at Saltwick Nab. This observation is consistent with the lack of normal faulting at Saltwick Nab, and the Whitby Mudstone Formation having been drained by structural and/or stratigraphical juxtaposition against permeable Middle Jurassic sandstones at both these localities.

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