Microstructure and fluid flow in the vicinity of basin bounding faults in rifts – the Dombjerg Fault, NE Greenland rift system

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2021.104463. This is version 2 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Eric Salomon, Atle Rotevatn , Thomas Berg Kristensen , Sten-Andreas Grundvåg, Gijs Allard Henstra 


Faults commonly form loci for high fluid flux in sedimentary basins, where fluids, rocks and deformation processes frequently interact. Here, we elucidate the interaction of fluid flow, diagenesis and deformation near basin-bounding faults in sedimentary basins through a study in the vicinity (0-3.5 km) of the Dombjerg Fault in the NE Greenland rift system. Due to fault-controlled fluid circulation, fault-proximal syn-rift clastics underwent pervasive calcite cementation, whereas uncemented clastics at some distance from the fault remained highly porous and friable. Correspondingly, two distinct deformation regimes developed to accommodate continued deformation: discrete brittle fractures formed in calcite cemented rocks, whereas cataclastic deformation bands formed in uncemented deposits.

We show that low-permeable deformation bands forming in highly porous rocks were associated with localized host rock alteration, and chemical reduction of porosity along bands. In rocks with cementation-induced low porosity, brittle fractures created new pathways for fluids, but were subsequently filled with calcite. Occasionally, veins comprise multiple generations of microcrystalline calcite, likely precipitated from rapidly super-saturated fluids injected into the fractures. This suggests cemented deposits sealed uncemented compartments, where fluid overpressure developed. We conclude that compartmentalized flow regimes may form in fault-bounded basins, which has wide implications for assessments of potential carbon storage, hydrocarbon, groundwater, and geothermal sites.




Earth Sciences, Geology, Sedimentology, Tectonics and Structure


fracturing, fluid flow, syn-rift, fault evolution, structural diagenesis, cementation


Published: 2021-06-17 10:24

Last Updated: 2021-10-19 13:56

Older Versions

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.