Understanding Fluid Injection Induced Seismicity

Science Center Objects

Fluid injection induced seismicity has been reported since the 1960s. There are currently more than 150,000 injection wells associated with oil and gas production in 34 states in the conterminous US. Pore pressure disturbance caused by injection is generally considered the culprit for injection induced seismicity, but, not all injection causes seismicity. It is not well understood what mechanic...

Fluid injection induced seismicity has been reported since the 1960s. There are currently more than 150,000 injection wells associated with oil and gas production in 34 states in the conterminous US. Pore pressure disturbance caused by injection is generally considered the culprit for injection induced seismicity, but, not all injection causes seismicity. It is not well understood what mechanical and hydrologic conditions cause some sites to be more prone than others to seismicity. The objectives of this proposed research are to utilize existing data on fluid injection and seismicity to (1) identify spatial and temporal correlations between fluid injection and induced seismicity; (2) conduct a hydro-mechanical modeling study to better understand the dynamic linkage between fluid pressure and stress changes; and (3) identify key parameters that influence seismicity. The proposed project will be carried out in four stages. The first is to compile fluid injection and seismicity data. The second is to analyze the data for temporal and spatial correlations between injection and seismicity and to identify representative end member sites where seismicity and no seismicity have occurred. The third is to model the pore pressure and stress field at the end member sites. Finally, sensitivity analyses will be performed to better understand how various factors control the occurrence of seismicity and identify settings of high susceptibility to induced seismicity.

 

Principal Investigator(s):

Shemin Ge (University of Colorado Boulder)

Barbara A Bekins (Branch of Regional Research, Western Region)

Jonathan W Godt (Geologic Hazards Team)

Arthur F McGarr (Earthquake Science Center)

Participant(s):

Nina Burkardt (Fort Collins Science Center)

James W Dewey (Geologic Hazards Team)

Paul S Earle (Geologic Hazards Team)

William L Ellsworth (Earthquake Science Center)

Stephen H Hickman (Earthquake Science Center)

Austin Holland (Oklahoma Geological Survey)

Paul A Hsieh (USGS Branch of Regional Research, Western Region)

Joern Kaven (Earthquake Science Center)

Randy Keller (University of Oklahoma)

Andrea L Llenos (Earthquake Science Center)

Hal Macartney (Pioneer Natural Resources)

Ernie Majer (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Evelyn A Roeloffs (Earthquake Science Center)

Justin L Rubinstein (Earthquake Science Center)

Anne Sheehan (Colorado State University)

Matthew Weingarten (University of Colorado Boulder)



Publications:

Ellsworth, W.L. (2013). Injection-Induced Earthquakes: Science, 341(6142). doi: 10.1126/science.1225942



Keranen, K.M., Weingarten, M., Abers, G.A., Bekins, B.A., and Ge, S. (2014). Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.1255802



McGarr, A., Bekins, B., Burkardt, N., Dewey, J., Earle, P., Ellsworth, W., Ge, S., Hickman, S., Holland, A., Majer, E., Rubinstein, J., Sheehan, A. (2015). Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection. Science: 347 (6224), 830-831. doi:10.1126/science.aaa0494



Weingarten, M., Ge, S., Godt, J.W., Bekins, B.A., Rubinstein, J.L., (2015). High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity. Science: 348 (6241), 1336-1340. doi:10.1126/science.aab1345