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Testing for the ‘predictability’ of dynamically triggered earthquakes in Geysers Geothermal Field

February 23, 2018

The Geysers geothermal field is well known for being susceptible to dynamic triggering of earthquakes by large distant earthquakes, owing to the introduction of fluids for energy production. Yet, it is unknown if dynamic triggering of earthquakes is ‘predictable’ or whether dynamic triggering could lead to a potential hazard for energy production. In this paper, our goal is to investigate the characteristics of triggering and the physical conditions that promote triggering to determine whether or not triggering is in anyway foreseeable. We find that, at present, triggering in The Geysers is not easily ‘predictable’ in terms of when and where based on observable physical conditions. However, triggered earthquake magnitude positively correlates with peak imparted dynamic stress, and larger dynamic stresses tend to trigger sequences similar to mainshock–aftershock sequences. Thus, we may be able to ‘predict’ what size earthquakes to expect at The Geysers following a large distant earthquake.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Testing for the ‘predictability’ of dynamically triggered earthquakes in Geysers Geothermal Field
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.01.015
Authors Chastity Aiken, Xiaofeng Meng, Jeanne L. Hardebeck
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Series Number
Index ID 70195575
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center

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