FiR – Fluids in Rocks

PI: Christoph v.Hagke, Elco Luijendijk, Janos Urai

In these projects we study the geometries of faults and fractures in the uppermost crust, fluid flux through them, and the influence of fluid flow on the heat budget of orogens and thermochronological age dating. Field areas include Iceland, Canyonlands National Park, USA, Guadeloupe, the Alps, and the alpine foreland basin.

Heat flow of orogens:

Crustal fluid flow is a key process that affects temperatures and fluid pressures in mountain belts. In addition, fluid flow and its associated thermal effects influence thermochronological methods that provide crucial information on the evolution of mountain belts over time. In this project, we quantify the importance of fluid flow for the thermal structure of orogens by quantifying the thermal effects of the most visible outcrop of deep fluid flow: thermal springs. To this end, we compiled thermal spring data in the Alps and use numerical models to quantify the thermal impact of the fluid flow systems that are associated with these springs. We combined models with independent data on geological structure, changes in recharge, ice cover and topography to quantify the persistence of hydrothermal systems over geological timescales. Results provide the first image of deep fluid flow and its effect on the thermal field at the scale of an entire orogen. In addition, our results provide new constraints on fluid pressures and permeability of the crust.

Massively Dilatant Faults

Further Reading:

Lujiendijk, E., Winter, T., Köhler, S., Ferguson, G. von Hagke, C., Scibek, J. (2020): Using thermal springs to quantify deep groundwater flow and its thermal footprint in the Alps and North American orogens, Geophysical Research Letters
Weismüller, C., Urai, J.L., Kettermann, M., von Hagke, C., Reicherter, K. (2019):  Structure of massively dilatant faults in Iceland: lessons learned from high resolution UAV data, SolidEarth 10, 1757-1784
Kettermann, M., Weismüller, C., von Hagke, C., Reicherter, K., Urai, J.L. (2019):  Large near-surface block rotations at normal faults of the Iceland rift: evolution of tectonic caves and dilatancy, Geology 47 (8), 781-785
von Hagke, C., Kettermann, M., Bitsch, N., Bücken, D., Weismüller, C., Urai, J.L. (2019): Obliquity of slip of normal faults controls distribution of open fractures at surface and depth, Frontiers in Earth Sciences 7, 18
Kettermann, M., von Hagke, C., van Gent, H., Grützner, C., Urai, J. (2016):  Dilatant normal faulting in jointed cohesive rocks: a physical model study, Solid Earth, 6, pp. 1–30