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Influences of Coal Seam Heterogeneity on Hydraulic Fracture Geometry: An In Situ Observation Perspective

Article Highlights

  • The three-dimensional patterns of hydraulic fractures are presented with in situ underground observations.

  • The coal body structure and coalbed structure greatly affect the hydraulic fracture geometry.

  • Hydraulic fractures mainly develop in undeformed coal and weakly deformed coal.

  • Weak layers and strongly deformed coal should not be perforated during fracturing engineering.

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τ sh :

Shear stress at the interface

τ se :

Tensional stress

τ 0 :

Cohesive shear strength of the interface

μ f :

Friction coefficient

σn :

Is the normal stress

σ H :

Maximum horizontal principal stress

σ h :

Minimum horizontal principal stress

σ v :

Vertical stress

H :

Buried depth of the measurement points.

ρ :


R c :

Uniaxial compressive strength

μ :

Poisson’s ratio

E :

Young’s modulus


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This research was supported by National Science and Technology Major Project of China (No. 2016ZX05067001-007), National Natural Science Foundation of China (U19B2009), and Natural Science Foundation of Chongqing (cstc2020jcyj-bshX0035). In addition, special thanks to Shanxi Jinneng Holding Group Co. Ltd of China for providing the observation conditions in the coal mines. These supports are gratefully acknowledged.

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RL: Investigation, Formal analysis, Data curation, Writing—original draft, Validation. SW: Investigation, Supervision, Validation. GL: Formal analysis, Project administration. JW: Investigation, Formal Analysis, Data curation.

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Correspondence to Rui Li.

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Li, R., Wang, S., Li, G. et al. Influences of Coal Seam Heterogeneity on Hydraulic Fracture Geometry: An In Situ Observation Perspective. Rock Mech Rock Eng 55, 4517–4527 (2022).

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  • Coalbed methane
  • Coal body structure
  • Coalbed structure
  • Hydraulic fracture
  • Geometry