Multi-scale structural inheritance of fracture systems pattern in coal-bearing measures of the Lorraine-Saar coal Basin


  • V. Pryvalov  M.P. Semenenko Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Ore Formation of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine
  • J. Pironon Université de Lorraine, CNRS, GeoRessources lab, France
  • P. de Donato Université de Lorraine, CNRS, GeoRessources lab, France
  • R. Michels Université de Lorraine, CNRS, GeoRessources lab, France
  • A. Izart Université de Lorraine, CNRS, GeoRessources lab, France
  • C. Morlot Université de Lorraine, CNRS, GeoRessources lab, France
  • O. Panova M.P. Semenenko Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Ore Formation of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine



Lorraine-Saar coal Basin, coalbed methane, environmental challenges, mitigating methane emissions, geologic structure, fracture networks, multi-scale analysis, X-ray computer tomography, cleat systems


The Lorraine-Saar Basin (LSB) is one of the major Paleozoic coalfields of Western Europe that has been shapedover two centuries as a heartland of underground coal mining and associated industrial activities in the transborderarea of France and Germany. The Basin still has considerable coal reserves accumulated in numerous laterally continuous coal seams that were affected by processes of thermogenic production of gaseous hydrocarbons during post-Carboniferous burial and related coalification. The LSB stands out by its up to 6 km sedimentary column and its inversion resulting in Paleozoic erosion in the range of 750 m (French part of the Basin) and pre-Mesozoic (Permian) erosion between 1800 and 3000 m (German part of the Basin). Historically, coal production in the Lorraine and the Saar portions of the entire Basin was associated with numerous mining hazards because of the high methane content in coal seams. The LSB has the potential to host an enormous unconventional resource base including coalbed methane (CBM). Coal mines here are no longer operated to produce coal; however, methane generated in deep compartments is venting here via fracture swarms to the Earth’s surface. Cutting natural methane emissions throughout CBM production within coal-bearing terrains is a crucial opportunity for slowing global warming rates. Nearly all CBM plays worldwide are affected in some way by natural multiscale fracture sets ranging from large fault zones to closely spaced joints, micro-shears, or cleat sets in coal seams. The LSB is not excluded indeed from this trend because of the long-term experience of geological exploration during extensive coal mining in the past. Characterization of structural patterns of fracture networks at different scales is a pragmatic process boosting the reliable perception of the performance of coalbed methane gas reservoirs. The focus of this contribution is to get an insight into the style and kinematic description of the multi-scale fault and cleat patterns in the LSB based on results of subsurface and underground geological mapping, and X-ray computer tomography. It will benefit the right mindset to ensure proper technical decisions for efficient exploration and exploitation of CBM reservoirs in the Basin.


Alsaab, D., Elie, M., Izart, A., Sachsenhofer, R.F., & Privalov, V.A. (2008). Predicting Methane Accumulations Generated from Humic Carboniferous Coals in the Donbas Fold Belt (Ukraine). AAPG Bulletin, 92(8), 1029—1053.

Arthaud, F., & Matte, P. (1977). Late Paleozoic Strike-Slip Faulting in Southern Europe and Northern Africa: Result of a Right-Lateral Shear Zone between the Appalachians and the Urals. GSA Bulletin, 88(9), 1305—1320.<1305:LPSFIS>2.0.CO,2.

Badham, J.P.N., & Halls, C. (1975). Microplate Tectonics, Oblique Collisions, and Evolution of the Hercynian Orogenic Systems. Geology, 3(7), 373—376.<373:MTOCAE>2.0.CO,2.

Beccaletto, L., Averbuch, O., & Izart, A. (2019). The Sarro-Lorraine Basin (SLB) in the frame of the Variscan orogeny: structure and tecto-sedimentary schedule. 19th International Congress on the Carboniferous and Permian, Jul 2019, Cologne, Germa-ny.

Bles, J.L., & Lozes, J. (1980). Gazéification in situ du Charbon Site de Faulquemont, l’étude struc¬turale. BRGM rapport No 80 SGN 427 GEO.

Christie-Blick, N., Biddle, K.T. (1985). Deformation and basin formation along strike-slip faults. In K.T. Biddle, N. Christie-Blick (Eds.), Strike-slip deformation, basin formation, and sedimentation (pp. 1—34). Soc. Econ. Paleontol.

Mineral., Tulsa.

Corbel, S., Kaiser, J., & Vicentin, S. (2017). Coal mine flooding in the Lorraine-Saar basin: experience from the French mines. In C. Wolkersdorfer, L. Sartz, M. Sillanpää, A. Häkkinen (Eds.), Mine Water and Circular Economy (pp. 161—166). IMWA 2017, Jun 2017, Lappeenranta, Finland.

Cunningham, W.D., & Mann, P. (Eds.). (2007). Tectonics of Strike-Slip Restraining and Releasing Bends. Vol. 290. Geol. Soc., London, Spec. Publ.

Donsimoni, M. (1981). Le bassin houiller Lorrain: synthèse géologique. Mémoire BRGM no 117. Orléans: Editions BRGM, p. 102.

Frodsham, K., & Gayer, R.A. (1999). The Impact of Tectonic Deformation upon Coal Seams in the South Wales Coalfield, UK. International Journal of Coal Geology, 38(3), 297—332.

García-Moreno, D., Verbeeck, K., Camelbeeck, T., De Batist, M., Oggioni, F., Zurita Hurtado, O., Versteeg, W., Jomard, H., Col-lier, J.S., Gupta, S., Trentesaux, A., & Vanneste, K. (2015). Fault Activity in the Epicentral Area of the 1580 Dover Strait (Pas-de-Calais) Earthquake (Northwestern Europe). Geophysical Journal International, 201(2), 528—542.

Guillocheau, F., Robin, C., Allemand, P., Bourqu¬in, S., Brault, N., Dromart, G., Friedenberg, R., Garcia, J.-P., Gaulier, J.-M., Gaumet, F., Grosdoy, B., Hanot, F., Le Strat, P., Met¬traux, M., Nalpas, T., Prijac, C., Rigollet, C., Ser¬ra¬no, O., & Grandjean, G. (2000). Meso-Ce¬no¬zo¬ic Geodynamic Evolution of the Paris Basin: 3D Stra¬ti¬graphic Constraints. Geodinamica Acta, 13(4), 189—245. (00)00118-2.

Henk, A. (1993). Late Orogenic Basin Evolution in the Variscan Internides: The Saar-Nahe Basin, Southwest Germany. Tectono-physics, 223(3), 273—290. (93)90141-6.

Hertle, M., & Littke, R. (2000). Coalification Pattern and Thermal Modelling of the Permo-Carboniferous Saar Basin (SW-Germany). International Journal of Coal Geology, 42(4), 273—296.

Izart, A., Barbarand, J., Michels, R., & Privalov, V.A. (2016). Modelling of the Thermal History of the Carboniferous Lorraine Coal Basin: Consequences for Coal Bed Methane. International Journal of Coal Geology, 168, 253—274.

Izart, A., Palain, C., Malartre, F., Fleck, S., & Michels, R. (2005). Paleoenvironments, Paleoclimates and Sequences of Westphali-an Deposits of Lorraine Coal Basin (Upper Carboniferous, NE France). Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, 176(3), 301—315. 10.2113/176.3.301.

Jing, Y., Armstrong, R.T., Ramandi, H.L., & Mostaghimi, P. (2017). Topological Characterization of Fractured Coal. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 122(12), 9849—9861.

Korsch, R.J., & Schäfer, A. (1995). The Permo-Carboniferous Saar-Nahe Basin, South-West Germany and North-East France: Basin Formation and Deformation in a Strike-Slip Regime. Geologische Rundschau, 84(2), 293—318.

Krause, E., & Pokryszka, Z. (2013). Investigations on Methane Emission from Flooded Workings of Closed Coal Mines. Journal of Sustainable Mining, 12(2), 40—45.

Laubach, S.E., Marrett, R.A., Olson, J.E., & Scott, A.R. (1998). Characteristics and Origins of Coal Cleat: A Review. International Journal of Coal Geology, 35(1), 175—207.

Nisbet, E.G., Manning, M.R., Dlugokencky, E.J., Fisher, R.E., Lowry, D., Michel, S.E., et al. (2019). Very strong atmospheric methane growth in the 4years 2014—2017: Implications for the Paris Agreement. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 33, 318—342. 2018GB006009.

Pashin, J.C., Carroll, R.E., Hatch, J.R., & Goldhaber, M.B. (1999). Mechanical and Thermal Control of Cleating and Shearing in Coal: Examples from the Alabama Coalbed Methane Fields, USA. In M. Mastalerz, M. Glikson, S.D. Golding (Eds.), Coalbed Methane: Scientific, Environmental and Economic Evaluation. Springer, Dordrecht. 978-94-017-1062-6_19.

Pitman, J.K., Pashin, J.C., Hatch, J.R., & Goldhaber, M.B. (2003). Origin of Minerals in Joint and Cleat Systems of the Pottsville Formation, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama: Implications for Coalbed Methane Generation and Production. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 87(5), 713—731.

Pryvalov, V.O., Panova, O.A., & Pryvalov, A.V. (2020). Geology in environmental management issues of the Donbas within the context of its forthcoming restoration. Mineralogical Journal, 42, 76—85.

Pryvalov, V.A., Panova, O.A., & Sachsenhofer, R.F. (2013).Natural Fracture and Cleat Patterns in Coalbed and Shale Gas Reser-voirs of the Donets Basin (Ukraine). Conference Proceedings, 75th EAGE Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE EU-ROPEC 2013, Jun 2013.

Pryvalov, V., Pironon, J., Izart, A., Michels, R., & Panova, O. (2016). A new tectonic model for the late Paleozoic evolution of the Lorraine-Saar coal-bearing basin (France/Germany). Tectonics and Stratigraphy, 42, 40—50.

Pryvalov, V.A., Pironon, J., Izart, A., & Morlot, C. (2017). Exploration of architecture and connectivity of cleat arrays in coals of the Lorraine CBM play by the means of X- ray computer tomography. 79th EAGE Conference and Exhibition 2017, Paris (pp. 1388—1392).

Privalov, V., Randi, A., Sterpenich, J., Pironon, J., & Morlot, C. (2019). Structural Control of a Dissolution Network in a Limestone Reservoir Forced by Radial Injection of CO2 Saturated Solution: Experimental Results Coupled with X-Ray Computed Tomography. Geosciences, 9(1). 9010033.

Rodrigues, C.F., Laiginhas, C., Fernandes, M., Lemos de Sousa, M.J., & Dinis, M.A.P. (2014). The Coal Cleat System: A New Approach to Its Study. Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, 6(3), 208—218.

Schäfer, A. (2011). Tectonics and Sedimentation in the Continental Strike-Slip Saar-Nahe Basin (Carboniferous-Permian, West Germany). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, 162(2), 127—155.

Stollhofen, H. (1998). Facies Architecture Variations and Seismogenic Structures in the Carboniferous—Permian Saar—Nahe Basin (SW Germany): Evidence for Extension-Related Transfer Fault Activity. Sedimentary Geology, 119(1), 47—83.

Villemin, T. (1987). Comparison between Two Scales of Fracturation in the Lorraine Coal Field (NE-France). Geodinamica Acta, 1(2), 147—157.




How to Cite

Pryvalov , V. ., Pironon, . J., Donato , P. de ., Michels, R. ., Izart, A., Morlot, C., & Panova, O. . (2022). Multi-scale structural inheritance of fracture systems pattern in coal-bearing measures of the Lorraine-Saar coal Basin. Geofizicheskiy Zhurnal, 44(1), 40–54.