Analysis of Joints Patterns in Albian to Santonian Strata on the Eastern Flank of the Abakaliki Anticlinorium: Implications on Paleostress Conditions and Fluid Flow Properties in an Unconventional Petroleum System

  •  Ikenna Anthony Okonkwo    
  •  Ogbonnaya James Igwe    


An analysis of joint patterns were carried out on multiple exposures in Albian to Turonian strata belonging to the Abakaliki Formation (Asu River Group) and the Eze-Aku Formation (Eze-Aku Group) on the eastern flank of the Abakaliki Anticlinorium of the Southern Benue Trough. The analysis was carried out using FracPaQ a MATLAB based toolbox for quantification of fracture patterns. The tool was used to calculate fracture density, and intensity of the traces; to quantify scaling distributions, and to determine dilation tendencies, slip tendencies, and to quantify connectivity, and fluid flow directions. Analysis show the presence of two major joint systems: A Major Cross-Fold Joint (CF-J) system -orthogonal to the regional fold axes- consisting of the CF-J1 set trending NW/SE (315±5°), and a subordinate Longitudinal Joint System (L-J) -subparallel to the fold axes- consisting of a NE-SW L-j1 set, an ENE-WSW (60°±5°) L-j2 set, and an E-W trending L-j3 set. Fracture patterns show intensity and density ranging from 11.2395- 53.3443 m-1 and 85.2747- 629.5928 m-2 respectively. Joints in the NE-SW show high dilation and low slip tendencies given a NW-SE directed maximum principal horizontal stress σH stress field. The units of the Abakaliki Formation show better connectivity and lower permeability anisotropy as both fracture systems are well developed in those units. These joints, having formed in the period leading up to the Santonian inversion would have been ideal conduits for migration and flow of hydrocarbon and mineral fluids. The Cross-Fold System precedes the folding episode in the Santonian period and is likely a result of overpressure conditions due to disequilibrium compaction in the Albian- Turonian strata in an initial compressive regional tectonic stress field. The Longitudinal System formed later and is related to the outer-arc flexure of the folded units taking advantage of the nascent cleavage structures in the folded shale units.

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