Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
Research article
18 Nov 2020
Research article |  | 18 Nov 2020

The growth of faults and fracture networks in a mechanically evolving, mechanically stratified rock mass: a case study from Spireslack Surface Coal Mine, Scotland

Billy James Andrews, Zoe Kai Shipton, Richard Lord, and Lucy McKay

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Cited articles

Anderson, E. M.: The dynamics of faulting and dyke formation with applications to Britain, Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, Pp. xii + 191, 1951. 
Andrews, B. J., Roberts, J. J., Shipton, Z. K., Bigi, S., Tartarello, M. C., and Johnson, G.: How do we see fractures? Quantifying subjective bias in fracture data collection, Solid Earth, 10, 487–516,, 2019. 
Andrews, B. J.: Supplementary information for “The growth of faults and fracture networks in a mechanically evolving, mechanically stratified rock mass: A case study from Spireslack Surface Coal Mine, Scotland”,, last access: 11 November 2020. 
Baghbanan, A. and Jing, L.: Stress effects on permeability in a fractured rock mass with correlated fracture length and aperture, Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci., 45, 1320–1334,, 2008. 
Baptie, B.: Seismogenesis and state of stress in the UK, Tectonophysics, 482, 150–159,, 2010. 
Short summary
Through geological mapping we find that fault zone internal structure depends on whether or not the fault cuts multiple lithologies, the presence of shale layers, and the orientation of joints and coal cleats at the time of faulting. During faulting, cementation of fractures (i.e. vein formation) is highest where the fractures are most connected. This leads to the counter-intuitive result that the highest-fracture-density part of the network often has the lowest open-fracture connectivity.