Fluid Flow and Fault Zone Damage in Crystalline Basement Rocks (Ore Mountains Saxony)

Monday, 14 December 2015: 10:50
3018 (Moscone West)
Peter Achtziger-Zupančič1, Simon Loew1, Axel Hiller2 and Gregoire Mariethoz3,4, (1)ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, (2)Wismut GmbH, Engineering/Radiation Protection, Chemnitz, Germany, (3)ETH Zurich, Department of Earth Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland, (4)University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Groundwater flow in fractured basement rocks on aquifer scale and processes involved in the creation of fracture network permeability are poorly understood even though they have been studied for decades. A unique hydrogeological dataset consisting of 1030 discrete inflows (corresponding to preferential groundwater pathways) to the Poehla Ore Mine (Ore Mountains) of the SDAG Wismut has been compiled and quantitatively interpreted. Transmissivities and permeabilities were calculated from discrete and cumulative inflows using analytical equations and numerical groundwater flow models. The Variscan basement at Poehla Mine was modelled in 3-D, covering a volume of 14x4x1 km3 with 14 metamorphosed litho-stratigraphic units and 131 faults separated in 6 main strike directions. Mesoscale fractures mapped at inflows points, i.e. locally conductive fractures, show a weak correlation with fault orientation, and a large orientation scattering, which could be related to small scale stress heterogeneities. Inflow points were spatially correlated with major faults considering two distance criteria. This correlation suggests that mainly NW-SE and NE-SW striking faults are transmissive, which should be critically stressed considering all available data about the regional stress field. The trace length (extent) and width of the core and damage zones of the modelled faults were compiled in order to investigate the flow distribution and permeability profiles in directions perpendicular to fault strike. It can be shown that 90% of all inflows are located in damage zones. The inflows are usually situated within multiple fault zones which overlap each other. Cumulative flow distribution functions within damage zones are non-linear and vary between faults with different orientation. 75-95% of the flow occurs in the inner 50% of the damage zone. Significantly lower flow rates were recognized within most fault cores.