Stress excell sheets

Heijn van Gent

For my promotion I have written several Excell applets that allow the plotting of faults and stress fields in Schmidt’s and Wulfs Nets as well as the effects of these stress fields on the plotted faults under different material properties. In the Excel workbook Stereogram_v2.2, the user is allowed to calculate all the angles between two different planes and two different lines, as well as the intersection line between two planes. In the workbook StressTensor_v2.6 one is allowed to define a stress tensor and upto 18 different planes. The applet then calculates the total, normal and shear stress on the different planes, to calculate whether material would fail on these planes, using 2 material properties (e.g. intact rock and fault materials. For the stress tensor the size and orientation of the principle stresses (and their ratio f) are established. All data is combined in a Mohr diagram. With thanks to Max Arndt for improving the graphics. The Excel sheet StressTensor_v3.0 Pore Pressure is an improved version of StressTensor_v2.6. This new version has some minor bugs resolved, improved communication between different sheets, and, most importantly, allows for the inclusion of pore pressure. This means that failure now depends on the "effective stress".

As with all sheets above, if you find any bugs or have any other suggestions, please let me know! Contact me using:



Stress and Strain from 3D seismic data

Heijn van Gent

The evolution of stress fields gives insight in for example the plate tectonic development of an area, and at the same time, it Dynamic information will also further the understanding of smaller scale processes such as halo kinesis, fault reactivation and tectonic inversion.

Picture_17 - stress hvg

The calculation of paleostress tensors (for example with Angeliers Direct Inversion Method, or Spangs Numerical Dynamic Analyses) is based on knowledge of both the orientation of fault planes, as well as the direction of slip on the faults. This slip vector is usually determined through direct field observations of fault kinematic indicators, such as slickenslides. This field based approach results in a relative under representation in paleostress studies of areas where the horizons of interest are not outcropping. This is particularly the case in sedimentary basins where direct fault observations are not possible.

We implement a 3-step workflow, based on the interpretation of 3D seismic volumes. We have access to the first class seismic data base of the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM, Assen, the Netherlands).

The first step entails the detailed interpretation of horizons and faults on the member level. Special attention is given to detailed interpretation of kinematic indicators such as en-echelon fault assemblages, splays, fault bifurcations and other fault interactions. Also the fault cut offs of horizons will be studied in detail.

In the next step, these detailed interpretations are palinspastically reconstructed using 3D balancing software (3Dmove, Midland Valley). This step provides the movement direction of faults. Removing of younger deformation allows the restoration of older, deeper horizons.

As a third step, fault orientation and fault slip from different time periods are used to calculate the paleostress tensor. The Numerical Dynamic Analysis was the applied method, because the dataset was observed to be to complex for the Direct Inversion Method. Because the deformation of overlying horizons was removed from deeper horizons, a paleostress stratigraphy can be constructed.

Results show that paleostresses from the NW corner of the Dutch Groningen Gasfield correspond with known data from Germany, France and Great Britain. Principle stress directions are sometimes observed to switched, but this might be the result of the position of the study area on a structural high. The observed maximum horizontal compressive stress in this study corresponds with known data, such as the Neotectonic data from the World Stress Map.

Picture_15 - Fault roughnessHVG

Looking at smaller, non-reacted faults from the Upper Cretaceous Chalk Group, it was shown that the seismic roughness of these faults is independent of the interpretation direction, and thus not a result of the interpretation uncertainty. These undulations can then be used to confine movement directions, and thus to calculate the paleostress.

Stress Publications



Heijn van Gent
Stress and strain from reflection seismic data. PhD-thesis. Geologie - Endogene Dynamik, RWTH Aachen. 198 pages (2010)
Heijn van Gent
Scaled analogue models of normal faulting in brittle lithologies, MSc-thesis, Geologie - Endogene Dynamik, RWTH Aachen University & Faculty of Earthsciences, University of Utrecht. (2005)


D.A. Nieuwland, Janos Urai, M. Knoop
In-situ stress measurements in model experiments of tectonic faulting. In: Lehner, F.K.,Urai, J.L. (Eds.), Aspects of Tectonic Faulting: in honour of Georg Mandl. Springer-Verlag, 151-162 (2000)
Marc Jessell, Janos Urai
Stress, Structure and Strain: a volume in honour of Win D. Means. Virtual Explorer 2 (2000)

Book chapters

Jonas Kley, H J Franzke, F Jaehne, Charlote Krawcyk, Tina Lohr, Klaus Reicherter, Magdalena Scheck Wenderoth, Judith Sippel, David Tanner, Heijn van Gent
Strain and Stress. In: Littke, R., Bayer, U., Gajewski, D. & Nelskamp, S. (Eds.), Dynamics of complex intracontinental basins: The Central European Basin System. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 98-124. (2008)


Gisa J. Kleine Vennekate, Janos Urai
The evolution of normal faults in layered sedimentary sequences: insights from Finite Element modelling of free localization of deformation in mechanically stratified rocks undergoing homogeneous extension. Journal of Structural Geology. submitted. (In press)
Ute Trautwein-Bruns, Katja C. Schulze, Stephan Becker, Peter A. Kukla, Janos Urai
In situ stress variations at the Variscan Deformation Front - Results from the deep Aachen geothermal well. Tectonophysics, Volume 493 (1-2), 196-211 (2010)
Joyce Schmatz, Peter Vrolijk, Janos Urai
Clay smear in normal fault zones - the effect of multilayers and clay cementation in water-saturated model experiments Journal of Structural Geology 32 - Fault zones (11), 1834-1849. (2010)
Heijn van Gent, Stefan Back, Janos Urai, Peter A. Kukla
Small-scale faulting in the Upper Cretaceous of the Groningen Block (The Netherlands): 3D seismic interpretation, fault plane analysis and paleostress. Journal of Structural Geology 32, 537-553 (2010)
Heijn van Gent, Stefan Back, Janos Urai, Peter A. Kukla, Klaus Reicherter
Paleostresses of the Groningen area, the Netherlands - results of a seismic based structural reconstruction. Tectonophysics - Progress in understanding sedimentary basins 470(1-2), 147-161. (2009)


Zoltán Komoróczi, Heijn van Gent, Janos Urai
Distribution of Sub-Seismic Deformation near Faults - Implications for Tight Gas Production. DGMK/GEW Veranstaltung Frühjahrstagung, pp. Poster. Montag, 11. April 2011. (2011)
Heijn van Gent, Zoltán Komoróczi, Janos Urai
Stress evolution at single-tip fault interactions - Paleostresses at the Courthouse branch point, Moab, Utah. Tectonomechanics Colloquium. April 1st 2011. (2011)
Janos Urai, Peter Kukla, Heijn van Gent, Steffen Abe, Guillaume Desbois, Johannes Schönherr, Zsolt Schléder, Lars Reuning, Stephan Becker
Internal Dynamics of Salt Structures. GeoDarmstadt 2010, Darmstadt, Germany, 10-13 October 2010, Hoppe, Röhling, Schütz (eds) Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, vol. 68, E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, 5 (2010)
Zoltán Komoróczi, Heijn van Gent, Janos Urai
Distribution of sub-seismic deformation near faults - Implications for Tight Gas production GeoDarmstadt 2010, Darmstadt, Germany, 10-13 October 2010, Hoppe, Röhling, Schütz (eds) Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, vol. 68, E (2010)
Heijn van Gent, Janos Urai, Martin de Keijzer, Frank Strozyk
The internal geometry of the Zechstein - Seismic interpretation of coeval extension and compression. GeoDarmstadt 2010, Darmstadt, Germany, 10-13 October 2010, Hoppe, Röhling, Schütz (eds) Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, v (2010)
Heijn van Gent, Stefan Back, Janos Urai, Peter A. Kukla
Paleostress analysis of the Groningen gas field, the Netherlands, based on high-resolution 3D seismic data. Published Abstract. European Geosciences Union General Assembly, 9. (2007)
Heijn van Gent, Stefan Back, Janos Urai, Peter A. Kukla, Klaus Reicherter
The estimation of paleostress through the palinspastic reconstruction of 3D seismic data from the Groningen gas field, the Netherlands. . DRT 2007 -16th conference on Deformation mechanics, Rheology and Tectonics, Milano, Italy, 27-29 September, Societa' G (2007)
Heijn van Gent, Janos Urai, Stefan Back, Peter A. Kukla
Paleostress estimation from 3D seismic data, Groningen gas field, the Netherlands 67. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Geophysikalen Gesellschaft, Aachen, 26-29 March 2007, 239. (2007)
Heijn van Gent, Janos Urai, Peter A. Kukla, Stefan Back, Jos Terken, Martin de Keijzer
Paleostress inversion using seismic data for the North West Groningen gas field (the Netherlands). SPP1135 Erdingerfeld Taggung 2006, Erdingerfeld, Germany, 15-17-11-2006. (2006)

Stress News

This week, the 9th of February Sofie Nollet will give a NUGGED seminar. Title of the talk will be: Importance of fault zone geometry in hydrocabon exploration & production. 12 o'clock, room 4.08, 4th floor, Lochnerstrasse 4-20, Haus A, Aachen.
We have updated our section on this year's EGU general assembly in Vienna. Have a look!
Upcoming 3-day short course "Structure, permeability and fluid flow at depth in the Earth's crust". October 11th - 13th. Lecturer is Professor Stephen Cox (ANU). More information:
MSc-students, PhD-students and PostDocs are welcome to apply!
Visit our talks and poster presentations at the EGU this week!
Marc Hollands MSc mapping report and analogue modeling thesis, both on the dynamics of  fault zones near the Kilauea caldera on Hawaii are available on the RWTH Library server.
Find an overview of all our contributions to EGU 2011 here.
Sohrab Noorsalehi-Garakani and Heijn van Gent recieved the Heitfeldpreis 2010 for their outstanding Diplom and Dr- thesi, respectivly.

The abstract submission for EGU 2011 in Vienna is now open. Consider submitting an abstract to the session: "The influence of host rock heterogeneity on stress distribution and brittle deformation".


Stress Pictures


Fault roughnessHVG


stress hvg

dilatant jog

En Echelon vein arra...

En Echelon vein arra...

Vein tip interaction...

Vein bundles cross c...

A set of conjugate s...

Textbook feather vei...

Tip splays at a wing...

test comment

A thick vein is set ...

Veins of different g...

A long straight En E...

stress strain sheet

Joyce sandbox broken...

See through Deformat...


Boudinage evolution

Boudinage viscosity ...