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Chevron grant funds research on mineral behavior in rock faults


Jennifer Matthews
November 08, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A team of Penn State researchers will soon have a better understanding of the deformation properties and poromechanical behavior of rock samples containing anhydrite, thanks to a $450,000 Chevron grant. 

Geologic layers and rock formations in the Earth’s crust have large fractures called faults, which contain interconnected channels. Water flows through and along these channels. However, anhydrite, a mineral created by the evaporation of seawater, and other similar minerals, can become smeared along the shear zones of the fault and clog fluid flow, acting as a pressure seal. Such fault seals can also hinder the extraction of natural resources such as petroleum. 

Despite the importance of extracting natural resources in these locations, there is still a poor understanding of the faults’ frictional properties and permeability. More 

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