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Petrophysical, geochemical, and hydrological evidence for extensive fracture-mediated fluid and heat transport in the Alpine Fault's hanging-wall damage zone.

Townend, J. and Sutherland, R. and Toy, V.G. and Doan, M. and Célérier, B. and Massiot, C. and Coussens, J. and Jeppson, T. and Janku-Capova, L. and Remaud, L. and Upton, P. and Schmitt, D.R. and Pezard, P. and Williams, J. and Allen, M.J. and Baratin, L. and Barth, N. and Becroft, L. and Boese, C.M. and Boulton, C. and Broderick, N. and Carpenter, B. and Chamberlain, C.J. and Cooper, A. and Coutts, A. and Cox, S.C. and Craw, L. and Eccles, J.D. and Faulkner, D. and Grieve, J. and Grochowski, J. and Gulley, A. and Hartog, A. and Henry, G. and Howarth, J. and Jacobs, K. and Kato, N. and Keys, S. and Kirilova, M. and Kometani, Y. and Langridge, R. and Lin, W. and Little, T. and Lukacs, A. and Mallyon, D. and Mariani, E. and Mathewson, L. and Melosh, B. and Menzies, C. and Moore, J. and Morales, L. and Mori, H. and Niemeijer, A. and Nishikawa, O. and Nitsch, O. and Paris, J. and Prior, D.J. and Sauer, K. and Savage, M.K. and Schleicher, A. and Shigematsu, N. and Taylor-Offord, S. and Teagle, D. and Tobin, H. and Valdez, R. and Weaver, K. and Wiersberg, T. and Zimmer, M. (2017) 'Petrophysical, geochemical, and hydrological evidence for extensive fracture-mediated fluid and heat transport in the Alpine Fault's hanging-wall damage zone.', Geochemistry, geophysics, geosystems., 18 (12). pp. 4709-4732.


Fault rock assemblages reflect interaction between deformation, stress, temperature, fluid, and chemical regimes on distinct spatial and temporal scales at various positions in the crust. Here we interpret measurements made in the hanging-wall of the Alpine Fault during the second stage of the Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP-2). We present observational evidence for extensive fracturing and high hanging-wall hydraulic conductivity (∼10−9 to 10−7 m/s, corresponding to permeability of ∼10−16 to 10−14 m2) extending several hundred meters from the fault's principal slip zone. Mud losses, gas chemistry anomalies, and petrophysical data indicate that a subset of fractures intersected by the borehole are capable of transmitting fluid volumes of several cubic meters on time scales of hours. DFDP-2 observations and other data suggest that this hydrogeologically active portion of the fault zone in the hanging-wall is several kilometers wide in the uppermost crust. This finding is consistent with numerical models of earthquake rupture and off-fault damage. We conclude that the mechanically and hydrogeologically active part of the Alpine Fault is a more dynamic and extensive feature than commonly described in models based on exhumed faults. We propose that the hydrogeologically active damage zone of the Alpine Fault and other large active faults in areas of high topographic relief can be subdivided into an inner zone in which damage is controlled principally by earthquake rupture processes and an outer zone in which damage reflects coseismic shaking, strain accumulation and release on interseismic timescales, and inherited fracturing related to exhumation.

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Publisher statement:Townend, J., Sutherland, R., Toy, V.G. Doan, M., Célérier, B. Massiot, C., Coussens, J., Jeppson, T. Janku-Capova, L., Remaud, L. Upton, P. Schmitt, D.R., Pezard, P. J. Williams, Allen, M.J., Baratin, L., Barth, N., Becroft, L. Boese, C.M., Boulton, C., Broderick, N. Carpenter, B. Chamberlain, C.J., Cooper, A., Coutts, A. Cox, S.C., Craw, L. Eccles, J.D., Faulkner, D. Grieve, J. Grochowski, J. Gulley, A. Hartog, A. Henry, G. Howarth, J. Jacobs, K. Kato, N. Keys, S., Kirilova, M. Kometani, Y. Langridge, R., Lin, W., Little, T. Lukacs, A., Mallyon, D., Mariani, E., Mathewson, L., Melosh, B., Menzies, C., Moore, J. Morales, L. Mori, H. Niemeijer, A. Nishikawa, O. Nitsch, O., Paris, J., Prior, D.J., Sauer, K. Savage, M.K., Schleicher, A. Shigematsu, N. Taylor-Offord, S. Teagle, D. Tobin, H. Valdez, R. Weaver, K. Wiersberg, T. & Zimmer, M. (2017). Petrophysical, Geochemical, and Hydrological Evidence for Extensive Fracture-Mediated Fluid and Heat Transport in the Alpine Fault's Hanging-Wall Damage Zone. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 18(12): 4709-4732.10.1002/2017GC007202. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.
Date accepted:01 December 2017
Date deposited:25 November 2019
Date of first online publication:29 December 2017
Date first made open access:25 November 2019

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