Our understanding of the subsurface system of the earth is becoming increasingly more sophisticated both at the level of the behaviour of its components (solid, liquid and gas) as well as their variations in space and time. The implementation of coupled models is essential for the understanding of an increasing number of natural phenomena and in predicting human impact on these.
The growing interest in the relation between fluid flow and deformation in subsurface rock systems that characterise the upper crust has led to increasingly specialized knowledge in many branches of earth sciences and engineering. A multidisciplinary subject dealing with deformation and fluid flow in the subsurface system is emerging.
While research in the subject area of faulting, fracturing and fluid flow has led to significant progress in many different areas, the approach has tended to be "reductionist", i.e. involving the isolation and simplification of phenomena so that they may be treated as single physical processes. The reality is that many processes operate together within subsurface systems, and this is particularly true for fluid flow and deformation of fractured rock masses. The aim of this book is to begin to explore how advances in numerical modelling can be applied to understanding the complex phenomena observed in such systems.
Although mainly based on original research, the book also includes the fundamental principles and practical methods of numerical modelling, in particular distinct element methods. This volume explores the principles of numerical modelling and the methodologies for some of the most important problems, in addition to providing practical models with detailed discussions on various topics.