Fractures and their ancestors: Exploring structural inheritance through multi-scale fracture analysis

When tectonic plates move, parts of the Earth’s crust are stretched, causing its uppermost layers to break in a brittle fashion and creating fractures. Certain relationships between the direction of regional basin-forming stretching and fracture orientations in rocks that fill the basin (here referred to as “cover” rocks) have been established. However, new fractures can inherit the properties of the underlying, stretched “basement” rocks, so that they are oblique to their expected orientation. The aim of this research is to better understand the impact of this basement-cover interaction, known as structural inheritance, on fractures at different scales.