UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) Analysis to Quantify the Reliability of Borehole-Derived Volumetric Fracture Intensity Ojeda, Pedro; Elmo, Davide; Rogers, Steve; Brzovic, Andres


Volumetric fracture intensity (P32) is a parameter that plays a major role in the mechanical and hydraulic behaviour of rock masses. While methods such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) are available to map the 3D geometrical characteristics of the fractures, the direct measurement of P32 at a resolution compatible with geotechnical applications is not yet possible. As a result, P32 can be estimated from the borehole and surface data using either simulation or analytical solutions. In this paper, we use Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) models to address the problem of estimating P32 using information from boreholes (1D data). When calculating P32 based on Terzaghi Weighting, it is common practice to use drill run lengths and limit the minimum angle between the borehole and the intersected fractures. The analysis presented in this paper indicated that limiting the minimum angle of intersection would result in an underestimation of the calculated P32. Additionally, the size of the interval has a significant impact on the variability of the calculated P32. We propose a methodology to calculate P32 using variable lengths, depending on the angle between the fractures and the borehole. This methodology allows the capture of the spatial variation in intensity and simultaneously avoids artificially increasing or decreasing the intensity sampled along borehole intervals. Additionally, this work has addressed the impact of boundary effects in DFN models and proposes a methodology to mitigate them.

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