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PESA WA Evening Lecture, Thursday 7th June: The permeability structure of fault zones in sedimentary basins

Thursday, June 7 @ 17:30 - 20:00

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Guest Speaker: Natalie Debenham

Natalie Debenham completed her Bachelor of Science (Geology and Geophysics & Applied Geology) with First-Class Honours at the University of Adelaide in 2014.  She was awarded the Tate Memorial Medal for obtaining the best result in the Honours degree of the Bachelor of Science in the field of Geology.  Following this, she received her Master of Research at Macquarie University in 2015, where she continued research into the depositional controls of organic-rich rocks in unconventional reservoirs.  Natalie is currently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy in structural geology and petroleum geoscience at the Australian School of Petroleum at the University of Adelaide.  Her current research is focussed on subsurface fluid flow through natural fracture networks in Australia’s petroleum producing basins.  In 2016, Natalie was awarded the PESA Postgraduate Scholarship.

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The permeability structure of fault zones in sedimentary basins

Natalie Debenham, Australian School of Petroleum, University of Adelaide

Date & Time:      Thursday 7th June, 5.30pm (for talk start at 6.15pm)


PESA Members:                                $15.00 (Members must Log on to the PESA website to see the member prices)

Non-members:                                 $30.00

PESA Students Members:             Free (registration is essential)

Bookings close 12noon Thursday 7th June for venue and catering purposes.

Understanding how subsurface fluids flow, interact, and modify their surroundings is one of the grand research challenges in the geosciences, and has profound implications for petroleum exploration and development.  In recent years, there has been considerable work on the structure, mechanics, and fluid flow properties of fault zones and fracture networks.  Despite a wide recognition of the structural, mechanical, and fluid flow properties of fault systems, they are not always understood or quantified.  Difficulties arise due to the complexity of fault zones and fracture networks and the variable impacts of these on fluid flow.  This presentation addresses the influence that fault zones have on fluid flow through time by addressing questions such as “how do faults influence the permeability structure of fault zones?” and “what are the nature and petrophysical properties of fault rocks?”.  These questions are discussed in light of recently acquired mineralogical and geomechanical data from fault-bearing rocks (high porosity, low permeability sandstones of the Cretaceous Eumeralla Formation) collected at the Castle Cove Fault in the Otway Basin, Victoria.  The Castle Cove Fault is a NE–SW striking reverse-reactivated fault with a strike length of approximately 30 km.  Ten orientated sample blocks were collected over a distance of 225 m within the hanging wall of the fault and several core plugs were drilled from each sample.  A progressive increase in porosity, permeability, and pore throat size and connectivity is recorded as the Castle Cove Fault plane is approached.  The results from this study show that the formation of microfractures and change in morphology of chlorite as a result of faulting can improve the porosity and permeability structure of the host rock.  This study highlights the importance of detailed mineralogical and geomechanical analyses when attempting to understand the reservoir properties of high porosity and low permeability sandstones.



Thursday, June 7
17:30 - 20:00


The George Hotel
216 St Georges Terrace, PERTH, Perth 6000


PESA Western Australia
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