Fracture analysis of carbonate depositional systems

Appraisal and development of fractured carbonate reservoirs remains a significant challenge because of the generally high degree of heterogeneity in the intensity, distribution and connectivity of the open fracture system. This fractured carbonates field course uses analogue outcrops and classroom sessions to equip the oil industry geoscientist and reservoir engineer with the essential knowledge from structural geology, fracture characterisation and rock mechanics to work with fractured carbonates. The course is partially based on the paper Fracture analysis of outcrop analogues to support modelling of the subseismic domain in carbonate reservoirs, south-central Pyrenees, Geological Society of London, Special Publications 459, 2019, by J. Gutmanis, L. Ardèvol, D. Díez-Canseco, L. Chebbihi, A. Awdal and A. Cook.

Instructors: Jon Gutmanis and Lluís Ardèvol
Location: south-central Pyrenees, the course begins and ends in Barcelona
Meeting point: Monday 6, 14:00h, Barcelona downtown or airport
Trip end: Friday 10, 18:00h, airport or meeting point
Level: basic / skill
Delivery: field trip + 1h daily classroom
Physical demand: average hike (maximum 1h walk per day) with some hills



  • Triassic and Jurassic dolomites (Adons, Camarasa)
  • Upper Cretaceous inner shelf to shelf-margin limestones (Tremp basin)
  • Eocene ramp carbonates (Alinyà anticline)


  • Shallowing upward cyclicity in carbonates
  • Coral and rudist reefs, reef zonation
  • Mixed shelf deposits
  • Depositional models and sequence stratigraphy


  • Overview of fractured reservoirs (classroom)
  • Structural geology and geomechanics for fractured reservoir characterisation (classroom)
  • Introduction to carbonate fracture models with case histories (classroom)
  • Carbonate fracture types, properties and scales: from pressure solution fractures to stratabound joints to fracture corridors to large faults and their damage zones
  • Relationships between fractures, facies and mechanical stratigraphy
  • Characterising and predicting fractures in the sub-seismic volume
  • The coupled relationship between in situ stress, mechanical anisotropy and fracture distribution
  • Characterising fault damage zones
  • Fracture mapping exercises

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