The development of fracture networks in heterogeneous rock during natural or hydraulic fracturing is studied using discrete network models of rock and Monte Carlo simulations. The models produce complex fractal networks of interconnected fractures whose structures depend on the spatial distribution of the heterogeneities of the rock. The resulting fracture patterns and their properties are shown to be in agreement with those of field-scale porous media. Thus, given the distribution of the heterogeneities of rock, one can simulate its fracturing process, and obtain an accurate map of its fracture network.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.