Dr. Tindall's Research

Tiny, Insignificant Cracks

Fractures (cracks) in rocks play an important role in subsurface fluid flow - they affect oil and natural gas, water availability, groundwater contamination, and the location and formation of many mineral resources.  There are more kinds of fractures than most people should know or care about.

I am interested in features called cataclastic deformation bands - these are usually considered barriers to fluid flow - and joints, which typically provide fluid pathways through rock.  Where deformation bands and joints occur together, how do they affect fluid flow?

Above: cataclastic deformation bands sticking out like 'fins' from the top of a sandstone layer in southern Utah.  For scale, those green dots are trees.

Left: A cataclastic deformation band.  The straight edges and sharp corners are caused by perpendicular sets of joints (cracks) across the band.

Below: Former student Tim Jenesky measuring some deformation bands
Deformation bands and joints are TOTALLY AWESOME, but honestly - I don't expect college students to get all excited about cracks in rocks.  I mostly work on this without student researchers:

Tindall, S. and Eckert, A., 2015, Geometric and mechanical-stiffness controls on jointing in cataclastic deformation bands: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 77, p. 126-137.

Tindall, S. E., 2014, Simple calculations of fluid flow across jointed cataclastic deformation bands: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 57, p. 152-159.  DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2014.05.016

Tindall, S. E.,
2014, Jointing of cataclastic deformation bands in a three-dimensional mechanical network: observations from the Waterpocket Fold, southern Utah: Abstracts with Programs – Geological Society of America, v. 46, no. 6, p. 154.

Tindall, S. E.,
2006, Jointed deformation bands may not compartmentalize reservoirs: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 90, no. 2, p. 177-192.

Tindall, S. E.
and Davis, G. H., 2003, Joint spacing and distribution in deformation band shear zones: Geological Magazine, v. 140, no. 1, p. 1-9.
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KU Geology

Kutztown University