The microfracturing of rock matrix around fractures was studied experimentally by determining the diffusion properties of a non-sorbing tracer. The diffusivities were measured by tracer techniques using 36C1 isotope as a tracer and 0.0044 M or 1 M NaCl solutions. The diffusivities were also determined by measuring the electrical resistivities of the samples saturated with 1 M NaCl solution. The rock samples were granite around a partially filled carbonate fracture and gneiss around a slickenside fracture.
The apparent diffusivities of all the studied samples were approximately of the same order of magnitude. None of the variables, i.e. salt concentration of the solution, rock and fracture type or distance from the fracture surface, had any significant effect on the apparent diffusivities.
The effective diffusivities and porosities, on the other hand, depended strongly on the salt concentration of tha water used to saturate the rock samples. Possible reasons for this could be the alteration of the pore structure or change of the electrical double layer during the saturation of the rock with strong NaCl solution.