Modeling of fault slip during hydraulic stimulation in a naturally fractured medium

  • Dac Thuong Ngo
  • Frederic L. PelletEmail author
  • Dominique Bruel
Original Article


Assessing the intensity of potential seismicity induced by fault slip is a mandatory task in the development of enhanced geothermal systems. In this paper numerical simulations are performed to investigate the propagation of hydraulic fractures and the slip behavior of existing faults due to fluid injection. The cohesive zone model is used in combination with finite cohesive elements to model the hydraulic fractures and the existing faults while the fault shear strength is assumed to follow the Coulomb friction law. Our focus is on the role of the friction conditions on the fault slip behavior. The simulation results show that faults with small friction coefficients tend to slip at low slip rates while faults with a higher friction coefficient tend to slip at rates that are higher than the unstable slip rate threshold. It is also demonstrated that under specific frictional conditions, the sequential stimulation mechanism of permeability enhancement is possible. The results suggest that a good characterization of the fault frictional conditions is required to successfully predict the fault slip pattern and that lowering the fault friction coefficient could potentially reduce the fault slip rate.


Geoenergy Fault reactivation Induced seismicity Cohesive element Coulomb friction Hydro mechanical coupling 



The authors would like to thank the GEOTREF project for financial support ( This project is funded by ADEME within the “Les Investissements d’Avenir” Program. Partners of the GEOTREF project include Teranov, Kidova, MINES ParisTech, ENS Paris, GeoAzur, Georessources, IMFT, IPGS, LHyGes, UAG, and UCP-GEC. The authors also express their gratitude to the Dassault Système Foundation, which also supported this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no significant financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dac Thuong Ngo
    • 1
  • Frederic L. Pellet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominique Bruel
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Géosciences, MINES ParisTechPSL Research UniversityFontainebleauFrance

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