Laboratory Permeability and Seismic velocity anisotropy measurements across the Alpine Fault, New Zealand
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The Alpine Fault, a transpressional plate boundary between the Australia-Pacific plates, is known to rupture periodically (200-400yr) with large magnitude earthquakes (Mw~8) and is currently nearing the end of its latest interseismic period. The hydraulic and elastic properties of fault zones influence the nature and style of earthquake rupture and associated processes; investigating these properties in Alpine Fault rocks yields insights into conditions late in the seismic cycle. We present a suite of laboratory permeability and P (Vp) and S (Vs) wave velocity measurements preformed on diverse fault rock lithologies recovered during the first phase of the Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP-1). DFDP-1 drilled two boreholes reaching depths of 100.6m and 151.4m and retrieved fault rocks from both the hanging wall and footwall, including ultramylonites, ultracomminuted gouges and variably foliated and unfoliated cataclasites. Drilling revealed a typical shallow fault structure: localised principal slip zones (PSZ) of gouge nested within a damage zone overprinted by a zone of alteration, a record of enhanced fluid-rock interaction. Core material was tested in three orthogonal directions, orientated relative to the down core axis and, when present, foliation. Measurements were conducted with pore pressure held at 5MPa over an effective pressure (Peff) range of 5-105MPa, equivalent to pressure conditions down to ~7km depth. Using the Pulse Transient technique permeabilities at Peff=5MPa range from 10-17 to 10-20m2, decreasing to 10-18 to 10-21m2 at Peff=105MPa. Vp and Vs decrease with increased proximity to the PSZ with Vp in the hanging wall spanning 4500-5900m/s, dropping to 3900-4200m/s at the PSZ and then increasing to 4400-5600m/s in the foot wall. Wave velocities and permeability are enhanced parallel to tectonic fabrics e.g. foliation defined by aligned phyllosillicates and quartz- feldspar clasts. These measurements constrain interseismic conditions within the Alpine Fault, a zone of damaged rock pervasively altered with phyllosilicates and carbonates.