Geomechanics and Rock Fracture

Structural geology and geomechanics as a discipline is one of the fastest growing areas of research and practice in petroleum geoscience. Evidence of the growing importance of this technical area includes rapid growth of technical teams on these topics within companies, the increasing importance of deep and/or geomechanically complex targets, including subsalt, fractured, faulted, and unconventional reservoirs. The Structural Diagenesis Initiative (SDI) is a leader in this technical area, and our students are making an impact in industry and at other academic institutions. Members of SDI were instrumental in setting up AAPG’s newest division, the Petroleum Structure & Geomechanics Division.

Jon Olson and D. Nicolas Espinoza lead the geomechanics effort. Also collaborating on geomechanics research is Dr. Nicola Tisato. From September 2015 through August 2017 Dr. Richard A. Schultz was with the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) as Senior Research Scientist, adding his expertise from academia and industry to UT’s Fracture Research and Application (FRAC) industrial affiliates consortium and the SDI initiative.  Prior to joining PGE, Rich was Principal Geomechanicist with ConocoPhillips where he focused on the characterization and geomechanics of reservoir and overburden sequences with applications to subsurface containment assurance, deepwater assets, heavy-oil fields, and geodetic monitoring of oil and gas fields throughout the global asset portfolio and life-cycle.PGE-300

Dr. Schultz served on the faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), culminating as Foundation Professor of Geological Engineering and Geomechanics, Emeritus. He taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in structural geology, geological engineering, fracture mechanics, geomechanics, physical and environmental geology, and planetary science. His grant-funded Geomechanics-Rock Fracture Group produced 5 Ph.D. and 13 M.S. students, 2 postdoctoral scholars, and an international reputation for innovative research and excellent presentations. Schultz has served on the Editorial Board of Lithosphere, Journal of Structural Geology, and Journal of Geophysical Research.

Selected research interests

  •    Deformation of porous rocks and formation of deformation band arrays
  •    Growth and significance of compaction bands
  •    Fracture and fault hydrology
  •    Growth and displacement-length scaling of fractures, faults and deformation bands
  •    Fault restriction and the development of linkages and relay-ramps in stratified sedimentary sequences
  •    Faulting and tectonics

The author of more than 115 research papers, 5 books and extended works, and several hundred abstracts and reports, he received his B.S. degree from Rutgers University, M.S. degree from Arizona State University, and Ph.D. degree from Purdue University. Dr. Schultz is a licensed Professional Geologist in Texas (#11755).

Selected key books and extended works

Daemen, J.J.K., and R.A. Schultz, editors 1995. Rock Mechanics: Proceedings of the 35th U.S. Symposium, Balkema, Rotterdam, 922 pp.

Schultz, R.A., and R.T. Pappalardo, guest editors, 2006, Special Issue on Faulting and Fault Related Processes on Planetary Surfaces, Journal of Structural Geology, 28, 2122–2270.

Selected papers

Schultz, R. A., Soofi, K. A., Hennings, P. H., Tong, X., Sandwell, D. T., 2014. Using InSAR to detect active deformation associated with faults in Suban field, South Sumatra Basin, Indonesia. The Leading Edge, 33(8), 882-888.

Schultz, R. A., Klimczak, C., Fossen, H., Olson, J. E., Exner, U., Reeves, D. M., Soliva, R., 2013. Statistical tests of scaling relationships for geologic structures. Journal of Structural Geology, 48, 85-94.

Schultz, R. A., 2011. Relationship of compaction bands in Utah to Laramide fault-related folding. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 304(1), 29-35.

Benedicto, A., Schultz, R. A., 2010. Stylolites in limestone: magnitude of contractional strain accommodated and scaling relationships. Journal of Structural Geology, 32(9), 1250-1256.

Klimczak, C., Schultz, R. A., Parashar, R., Reeves, D. M., 2010. Cubic law with aperture-length correlation: implications for network scale fluid flow. Hydrogeology Journal, 18(4), 851-862.

Fossen, H., Schultz, R. A., Shipton, Z. K., Mair, K., 2007. Deformation bands in sandstone: a review. Journal of the Geological Society, 164(4), 755-769.

Schultz, R. A., Soliva, R., Fossen, H., Okubo, C. H., Reeves, D. M., 2008. Dependence of displacement–length scaling relations for fractures and deformation bands on the volumetric changes across them. Journal of Structural Geology, 30(11), 1405-1411.

Schultz, R. A., & Fossen, H., 2002. Displacement–length scaling in three dimensions: the importance of aspect ratio and application to deformation bands. Journal of Structural Geology, 24(9), 1389-1411.

Schultz, R. A., 1999. Understanding the process of faulting: selected challenges and opportunities at the edge of the 21st century. Journal of Structural Geology, 21(8), 985-993.

Schultz, R. A., 1996. Relative scale and the strength and deformability of rock masses. Journal of Structural Geology, 18(9), 1139-1149.

Schultz, R. A., 1995. Limits on strength and deformation properties of jointed basaltic rock masses. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 28(1), 1-15.

Schultz bio at PGE

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