This article focuses on field- and laboratory-based characterization of vertically persistent fractures that are part of oblique-slip normal fault zones and crosscut the Cretaceous platform and overlaying ramp carbonates outcropping at Maiella Mountain (central Italy). The achieved results show that: (i) fault damage zones are wider and more densely fractured in the platform carbonates than in the ramp ones; (ii) joints and sheared joints composing the fault damage zones are taller, better connected and less spaced within the former rocks than in the ramp carbonates. The aforementioned structural differences are interpreted to be a consequence of the different mechanical properties of the platform and ramp carbonates during failure. At Maiella Mountain, platform carbonates are, indeed, made up of overall stiffer (higher Uniaxial Compressive Strength values) and less porous rocks, due to more abundant intergranular void-filling cement and presence of matrix.In terms of hydrocarbon flow and recovery, geometric and dimensional attributes of fractures suggest that the well-connected network of closely spaced fractures cutting across the platform carbonates may form efficient pathways for both vertical and horizontal hydrocarbon flow. In contrast, the relatively poorly connected and low-density fracture network affecting the ramp carbonates is likely less efficient in providing fairways for flowing hydrocarbons.
Fracture characteristics in Cretaceous platform and overlying ramp carbonates: An outcrop study from Maiella Mountain (central Italy) / Rustichelli, Andrea; Torrieri, Stefano; Tondi, Emanuele; Laurita, Salvatore; Strauss, Christoph; Agosta, Fabrizio; Balsamo, Fabrizio. - In: MARINE AND PETROLEUM GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0264-8172. - 76(2016), pp. 68-87. [10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2016.05.020]