Fracture distribution in a folded fluvial succession: the Puig-reig anticline (South-eastern Pyrenees)

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Xiaolong Sun, Enrique Gomez-Rivas , Juan Alcalde , Juan Diego Martín-Martín , Cunfei Ma, Daniel Muñoz-López , David Cruset , Irene Cantarero , Albert Griera , Anna Travé 


Sedimentary rocks of foreland fold-and-thrust belts typically undergo intensive fracturing as fold grows. The resulting fracture networks can present significant variations depending on the distribution of sedimentary facies and the complex structural characteristics of fold-and-thrust belts. The Puig-reig anticline, located in the south-eastern Pyrenees, mainly exposes proximal fluvial deposits in the north limb and medial fluvial deposits in the rest of the anticline. Thus, this anticline constitutes an excellent case study to investigate the main controls on the distribution of fracture networks in folded fluvial deposits, in terms of structural position and lithofacies variations. Outcrops were selected to be representative of different structural positions, from the fold hinge to its limbs, and of a variety of the main lithofacies, from proximal to medial fluvial deposits. Fracture data were acquired using the linear scanline method. Results indicate that the anticline is affected by four sets of fractures. The north limb is dominated by thick conglomerate bodies with interlayered sandstones deposited from unconfined flash floods and wide-shallow channel streams in the proximal fluvial fan, and presents large fracture spacing and low fracture intensity but relatively large fracture length and aperture. The crest and the crest-limb transition zones are mainly composed of interlayered conglomerates, sandstones, siltstones and clays, deposited from braided channel streams and overbanks in the medial fluvial fan and present fractures with relatively high fracture intensity and variable fracture length and aperture. The south limb, composed of channel filling sandstone layers and stable overbank fine deposits in the medial fluvial fan, is characterised by low fracture intensity and small fracture length and aperture. Based on multiple linear regression analysis, fracture intensity is mainly controlled by the structural position, bedding thickness and lithological associations, with relatively more intense fracturing in thin sandstone layers with multiple interlayers of fine deposits in the anticline crest. The fracture length is mainly controlled by bedding thickness and is affected lithological associations. The fracture apertures are mainly controlled by lithofacies, with relatively higher apertures affecting conglomerate bodies. The results of this study are relevant for characterising similar systems in the subsurface, where data is scarce.



Geology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Tectonics and Structure


fractures, Pyrenees, fluvial fan, structural position, fold


Published: 2021-05-07 17:46

Last Updated: 2021-05-08 00:46


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Data Availability (Reason not available):
All data is presented in the manuscript

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