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      The permeability of fractured rocks in pressurised volcanic and geothermal systems

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          Abstract

          The connectivity of rocks’ porous structure and the presence of fractures influence the transfer of fluids in the Earth’s crust. Here, we employed laboratory experiments to measure the influence of macro-fractures and effective pressure on the permeability of volcanic rocks with a wide range of initial porosities (1–41 vol. %) comprised of both vesicles and micro-cracks. We used a hand-held permeameter and hydrostatic cell to measure the permeability of intact rock cores at effective pressures up to 30 MPa; we then induced a macro-fracture to each sample using Brazilian tensile tests and measured the permeability of these macro-fractured rocks again. We show that intact rock permeability increases non-linearly with increasing porosity and decreases with increasing effective pressure due to compactional closure of micro-fractures. Imparting a macro-fracture both increases the permeability of rocks and their sensitivity to effective pressure. The magnitude of permeability increase induced by the macro-fracture is more significant for dense rocks. We finally provide a general equation to estimate the permeability of intact and fractured rocks, forming a basis to constrain fluid flow in volcanic and geothermal systems.

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          Most cited references 54

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          Permeability development in vesiculating magmas: implications for fragmentation

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            Repeated fracture and healing of silicic magma generate flow banding and earthquakes?

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              The Fluid Mechanics Inside a Volcano

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                anlamur@liverpool.ac.uk
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                21 July 2017
                21 July 2017
                2017
                : 7
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8470, GRID grid.10025.36, Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, , University of Liverpool, ; 4 Brownlow Street, L69 3GP Liverpool, United Kingdom
                Article
                5460
                10.1038/s41598-017-05460-4
                5522408
                28733579
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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