US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 87, NO. B7, PAGES 5517-5534, JULY 10, 1982


This paper presents the results of studies of the natural fracture distribution encountered in 10 test wells drilled in three areas of the United States. Seven of the wells were drilled to depths of 200-250m, while three were drilled to depths of about 1 km. Using an ultrasonic borehole televiewer, fracture depths, strikes, and dips were determined. Steeply dipping fractures were found throughout each of the wells, and in general, few horizontal fractures were observed. Statistically significant fracture pole concentrations were found for each well which were basically invariant with depth, although some variation of fracture orientation with depth was found in two wells. The significant fracture orientations were not found to be the same in wells only several kilometers apart in a given region. In none of the wells did the number of observable fractures decrease markedly with increasing depth. No simple relationship of fracture orientation or fracture density with major structural features such as the San Andreas fault were observed, and no simple relation between the significant fracture orientations and either past or present regional stress fields could be determined.