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FRAC Research Meeting

July 19-20, 2004, Utah

Student Event

November 13, 2004

AAPG Hedberg

Structural Diagenesis

Austin, Texas

February 8–11, 2004

FRAC Contributions

Upstream Technology for the Coming Gas Economy

Scott Tinker, Director

Slide Show

Geological Sciences

Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering

Institute for Geophysics

Bureau of Economic Geology

Thesis support available for students in Geological Sciences and Petroleum Engineering. Contact us

Thrust Belt Fracture Systems

Randy Marrett and Steve Laubach recently completed initial field work on thrust belt fracture systems in mixed siliciclastic/carbonate rock systems.

Results of the study are posted on the Members side under Case Studies.

We plan to conduct a FRAC field trip and Research Meeting in this area in the near future, as it contains several features of potential great interest for exploration, including an example of superporosity due to fracturing.12/30/04

Support for Research on Evolution of Fracture Systems
The Jackson School of Geosciences recently announced that the Geology Foundation will support our research on fundamental aspects of fracture pattern development. The title of the successful initiative is Fracture Opening Processes: Chemical/Mechanical Evolution of Fracture Systems. Complete information is posted on the members site. 11/15/04  
Sub-Evaporite Detachment Fractures Field Seminar

A field seminar to view fracture systems developed in sandstone beneath a regional evaporite detachment is in the planning stages. We intend to conduct the field seminar during the first quarter of 2005. Image to left shows one of the outcrops we will visit.

Members having an interest in participating in the seminar or in learning more about this research should contact Steve Laubach or Meghan Ward.12/01/04

In January, Sanjay Srinivasan and Julia Gale will visit Ecopetrol in Bucaramanga, Colombia to review FRAC research and view core as part of an ongoing cooperative research effort. To the right, a view of Bucaramanga.

For more information and a copy of the slides to be presented see the Members site. 12/30/04


In January, Julia Gale and Steve Laubach will visit Devon Canada in Calgary to review FRAC research and case studies.

For more information and a copy of the slides to be presented see the Members site.12/30/04

Field work in Piceance

Julia Gale recently returned from fracture mapping and sample collection in the Piceance Basin. More information about subsurface and outcrop studies in the Piceance is posted on the members site. In November, Chris Wilson's production, fracture quality, and economic impact study based on Piceance data was nearing completion. 11/02/04

Research Award

Rob Lander during the FRAC field trip in July

  In October, Rob Lander presented a report on our Basic Energy Sciences grant Predicting fracture porosity evolution in sandstone at the "Flow and Transport: Characterization and Modeling from Pore to Reservoir Scales" Geoscience Research Program Symposium. An independent review panel named Rob's presentation the outstanding contribution from a University project. [ Abstract PDF ] 10/27/04

Geochemical Modeling of Fracture Sealing

Lake, Lander, Milliken, discussion leaders

Internal Review Meeting — 2004

The goal of this meeting is a no-holds-barred discussion of the interplay between time-dependent fracture growth and time-dependent fracture closure in porous rocks under diagenetic conditions. 09/15/04 See calendar notice for dates.


Open, bridged fracture


Barnett Shale: Field trip II. Kitty Milliken and Juergen Schieber, others. Scheduled for Sunday, November 28, 2004. Members welcome.

Contact Kitty Milliken about field trip logistics and associated lectures and core review. 09/01/04

FRAC Student Event & Picnic

November 13, 2004

The annual student and Texas exs event and picnic will be held Saturday, November 13, 2004. Members welcome. Contact the student organizing committee for more information: Meghan Ward, Chris Wilson, Edgar Pinzon, or Hammed Adefashe. 08/15/04

Fracture Research Meeting & Field Trips

Part of the FRAC field party on the outcrop near Split Mountain, Utah. The 2004 FRAC field trip was held July 17 and 18.

More pictures from the field trip are posted on the Members site.


The FRAC Field trip and Research Meeting in Utah is underway: July 17 through 20th.

See you on the outcrop. See the Members side for more information.07/16/04


July FRAC Research Meeting is in the final stages of preparation. See Meeting Information Link for hotel instructions and field trip plans.

Meeting dates are July 19-20. The meeting will include a review of research progress, case studies and a field trip on July 17 & 18th.07/04/04

July Meeting Update

Information about the July field trip and Research Meeting is posted under Meetings on the Members side of this site.

Please contact Steve Laubach or Julia Gale with questions.06/02/04


Fracture Opening Histories

Linda Bonnell, Jon Olson, Rob Lander, and Steve Laubach are in Denver 5/24-5/26 sampling core from the Piceance and Unita basins. Also part of the study is the core shown here: Shell Brotherston 1-B4-11 core, Uinta Basin, from the BEG Midland core facility. 05/19/04

Marrett to Teach Faults School

FRAC PI Randy Marrett is set to travel to Brazil next week (May 04) to teach a course on faults at the Federal University on the northeastern coast of Brazil. Randy will also participate in a field trip during his visit, and meet with representatives of Petrobras.


More Marrett field news: Watch a video (filmed and produced by Violeta Ivanova) of Randy's field trip to the Sierra Madre Oriental last fall:

"The Measure of the Sierra Madre"

A field trip to the Central Andes, associated with the Fall 2004 Tectonics course, is planned for Winter break this year. 05/14/04


Marrett in Andes, 2003

One of the Barnett Shale exposures sampled.

Barnett Shale

In May, Kitty Milliken led a sampling trip to Barnett Shale outcrops along the northern edge of the Llano Uplift.

Kitty's Ph.D. student Petro Papazis has been sampling Barnett Shale core for his dissertation research. More info on the private side of the site. 05/10/04

Invitations to the July Research Meeting and information about meeting and field trip logistics was sent to Members on April 23.

More information is posted under Meetings on the Members site.

Contact Steve Laubach or Julia Gale if you have questions.05/05/04


Controversial FRAC Views on Stress and Fractures in EPSL

Volume 222, Issue 1 , Pages 1-331 (15 May 2004)

Quartz bridge in otherwise open fracture, Wyoming, depth 6 km.


FRAC's iconoclastic views on what governs the orientation of open fractures will soon be published:

Are open fractures necessarily aligned with maximum horizontal stress?, Earth & Planetary Science Letters, v. 222, no. 1, 191-195, Stephen E. Laubach, Jon E. Olson and Julia F. W. Gale.

Online at Elsevier on 12 April 2004. Link to EPSL web site.  05/01/04

Kitty Milliken Elected Editor of Journal of Sedimentary Research

FRAC Associate and Department of Geological Sciences Senior Research Scientist Kitty Milliken was recently named editor of the prestigious Journal of Sedimentary Research. Congratulations Kitty!

For some of Kitty's recent FRAC-related research, see: Milliken, K., Reed, R., and Laubach, S., in press, Quantifying compaction and cementation within deformation bands in porous sandstones: AAPG Memoir. 04/1/04

 04/28/04 Photo: Kitty at FRAC meeting, Jackson Hole, WY, July 2003

Click here for the SEPM link. 


Structural Diagenesis: Astrid Makowitz Dissertation Defense

Congratulations to FRAC Researcher Astrid Makowitz on the successful defense of her Ph.D.

Dissertation:The genetic association between brittle deformation and quartz cementation:  Examples from burial compaction and cataclasis. Dr. Makowitz will be leaving shortly for a job at BP in Houston.

Results of Astrid's research can be found on the AAPG web site [ Abstract ] or in more complete form on the Member side of this web site. 04/22/04

FRAC Associates Win Best Student Presentation Awards at AAPG

Julymar Morantes, an alumnus of the UT Department of Geological Sciences and associate of FRAC who currently works for PDVSA-Intevep received the 1st place Student Poster Session award at the 2004 AAPG Annual Meeting for her poster: Mechanisms of Porosity Reduction of the Upper Cretaceous Sandstones in the Eastern Venezuela Basin: Carito Oil Field. [ Abstract ].

Current FRAC Graduate Research Assistant Leonel Gomez was awarded 3rd place in Student Paper (Oral) Presentation for his talk: Predicting Macrofracture Spacing from Small Rock Samples: Testing New Analytical Techniques Using Microfracture Spacing.   [ Abstract ]. 04/22/04  Presentations can be found on the Members side of this site in the slides and presentations archive.

FRAC Researcher Speaks at SPE Luncheon
  As part of the 2003-2004 Society of Petroleum Engineers' Distinguished Lecture Series, Senior Research Scientist Stephen Laubach will present "Fractures in Reservoirs: Prediction, Characterization, and Incorporation in Fluid-Flow Simulation" at the Austin Section SPE monthly luncheon on February 24, 2004, at Serranos at Symphony Square. [ Abstract ] 02/24/04
Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hosts FRAC Scientist
Bureau Research Scientist Associate Robert Reed traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on February 24 and gave two presentations:"Some Uses of
SEM-Based Cathodoluminescence Imaging in Sandstone Petrology
was presented to Dennis Kerr's graduate sandstone petrology class at the University of Tulsa and
Microfractures, Macrofractures, and Fracture-Cement Relations in Sandstones: Examples from Oklahoma and Texas [ Abstract ] to the Tulsa Geological Society. 02/26/04


Dr. Linda Bonnell begins the last leg of her AAPG Distinguished Lecture tour for 2003–2004 in March. Linda holds the positions of Scientific Advisor and President with Geocosm and is a Research Fellow at the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Linda will present two talks:

µ "Sealed, Bridged or Open - A New Theory of Quartz Cementation in Fractures"
µ "Reservoir Quality Prediction in Deep Water to Tight Gas Sandstones Using a Process/Stochastic Modeling Approach" 02/22/04


Field Work '04

Planning is underway for the FRAC field trip in July and for student summer field work.

More information is posted on the Members side. 2/20/04


New Fracture Picking Method & Software  GoMezure

A new procedure for fracture picking and new software for extracting structural information from scanned CL ../../images for scaling analysis has been developed by Leonel Gomez.

We are currently testing the software on fracture data sets from Wyoming, Colorado, Venezuela, northeast Mexico, and other areas.

A description of the new methodology and the software will be posted on the Member's Site under Transfer Modules. Instruction in the use of the new software is planned for the workshop associated with the July Research Meeting. At that meeting we will also review progress in automated image mosaic acquisition.

The new methodology and software replaces the procedure based on the OrlandoMagic software. An advantage of the shift is that the fracture mapping and extraction procedures use current, cheap and widely available software as a starting point. The new methodology reduces the time it takes to quantify the properties of interpreted fractures and also gives the user tremendous flexibility to quantify those properties.


Steve Laubach has been named a Jackson Research Fellow for 2004-2005.

Funds from the fellowship are being used to support graduate student field projects on structural diagenesis. Among the thesis projects underway are studies in NE Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, and NW Scotland.

Information for prospective students can be found on the Department of Geological Sciences web site.

AAPG Hedberg Research Conference on Structural Diagenesis was held in Austin February 8 through 11, 2004. See the AAPG web site for more information. [ FRAC participation ].

The image to the right shows fractured grains (pink, light blue), quartz cement coating grains and in fractures (dark blue) and porosity (green) in samples from deformation bands in Robin Hill's field area, Aztec Sandstone, Valley of Fire, Nevada. Scanned CL image by Rob Reed. For more information see: Milliken, K. L., Reed, R. M., and Laubach, S. E., in press, Quantifying compaction and cementation within deformation bands in porous sandstones: in Sorkhabi, R. et al. (eds.) Faults and Petroleum Traps, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Memoir. 1/29/04 updated 2/3/04, 2/20/04

FRAC Research Meeting 04—Plans for the 2004 Research Meeting, field trips, and short course/workshop are posted on the private side of this site under Meetings and Calendar and the meetings summary on the public site.


The Research Meeting will be held on July 19th and 20th in Utah.

A scene from Steve Laubach's November visit to the Society of Petroleum Engineers South China section and the Shengli Oilfield Company, Shandong Province, China. The visit was part of Steve's SPE Distinguished Lecture tour in Asia. Other stops included Vietnam, The Philippines, Japan, and Korea.
January News

Open fracture having synkinematic quartz bridges, Jurassic, Mexico. Meghan Ward is studying these structures as part of her M.S. thesis research.


A field party will be in northeastern Mexico, where studies of fractured carbonate and siliciclastic rocks are underway. See the private side for details.

A group of FRAC researchers will be in Houston, visiting with various Member companies and reviewing case studies and a group will visit Denver for sample collection and discussion of ongoing studies.

Steve Laubach will be in Mexico and various localities in New Mexico as part of the SPE Distinguished Lecture tour.



Fractured Reservoirs

Jon Olson will be in London on November 16 & 17, 2004 delivering a keynote address at the Fractured Reservoirs Conference, the Geological Society, Burlington House, London.

Visit Jon Olson's FRAC web page.

For more information: or Geoscientist, June 2004, v. 14, no. 6, p. 21.

The 2004 North American Rock Mechanics Symposium (Gulfrocks) will be held in June, in Houston, and FRAC will be there. Steve Laubach co-chairs the fractures and faults session on Monday, June 7, Jon Olson co-chairs the hydraulic fracturing session, and Jon Olson, Julia Gale, and Namsu Park present papers. Dick Plumb of Schlumberger is one of the conference organizers. See the ARMA web site for more information and the private side for preprints and slides.

FRAC will be involved with several sessions at the 2004 AAPG Convention in Dallas in April, including:

Characterization and Modeling of Fractured Reservoirs (AAPG)
on Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Oral session begins at 8:00 AM, C146.
Poster session begins at 1:30 PM.
S. Laubach, L. Taylor, and A. Chambers, co-chairs.

Geological Uncertainty in Reservoir Modeling and Prediction (AAPG/SEPM)
on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 20-21, 2004

Oral session begins at 1:25 PM on April 20, C155/156.
Poster session begins at 8:30 AM
. on April 21. J. Jennings, L. Lake, co-chairs.

Publications Feature

From time to time, we will post slides on the public Publications page. The Summer 2003 posting is:

from Jon Olson:

Spatial Organization of Natural Fractures: A Geomechanics Approach


Spring 2004 Featured Slide Presentation : Steve Laubach & Kitty Milliken

Structural Diagenesis: Chemical and Mechanical Processes in Basins

Robert K. Goldhammer Chair in Carbonate Geology

A new chair has been formally approved in the Geology Foundation. It was established by the Goldhammer Family Foundation in memory and honor of Professor Bob Goldhammer. It will be known as the Robert K. Goldhammer Chair in Carbonate Geology.

The Chair is restricted to faculty doing research in carbonate stratigraphy and sedimentology, but excluding carbonate geochemistry as a principal field of endeavor.

Picture to left is Bob at the 2002 FRAC picnic.11/09/04