Characterizing rock fractures using synthetic fractal analogues

P. W.J. Glover, K. Matsuki, R. Hikima, K. Hayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The transport and mechanical properties of rocks are highly sensitive to the characteristics of the fractures they contain. We have used numerical synthetic fractures to model the mechanical and hydraulic properties of a fracture in the geothermal HDR test site at Hachimantai in N. Japan. Fracture surfaces have been analysed to characterize their geometrical properties. These properties have been used to create a population of numerical synthetic fractures tuned to imitate the geometrical and statistical properties of the natural fracture. The synthetic fractures have been used in simulated closure modelling, and in fluid flow modelling using the Reynolds equation. The results have been compared with field data obtained from the Hachimantai site, showing that the modelling results match the filed data very well. The modelling also shows that rough surfaces increase the tortuosity of fluid flow, and reduce the hydraulic aperture below that of the mean mechanical aperture of the rock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-112
Number of pages30
JournalGeothermal Science and Technology
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1


  • Fluid flow
  • Fractals
  • Fractures
  • Geothermal
  • Numerical modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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