Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Energy Environ.
Impact Factor: 2.514

Addressing the risks of induced seismicity in subsurface energy operations

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

Shale gas could help address the insatiable global demand for energy. However, in addition to risks of environmental pollution, the risk of induced seismicity during the hydraulic fracturing process is often considered as the major showstopper in the public acceptability of shale gas as an alternative source of fossil fuel. Other types of subsurface energy development have also demonstrated similar induced seismicity risks. This article presents an interdisciplinary review of notable cases of suspected induced seismicity relating to subsurface energy operations, covering operations for hydraulic fracturing, wastewater injection, conventional gas extraction, enhanced geothermal systems and water impoundment. Possible causal mechanisms of induced seismicity are described and illustrated, then methods to mitigate induced seismicity, encompassing regulations, including so‐called traffic light systems, monitoring and assessment, and numerical modeling approaches for predicting the occurrence of induced seismicity are outlined. Issues relating to public perception of energy technologies in regards to induced seismicity potential are also discussed.

This article is categorized under:

  • Photovoltaics > Climate and Environment
  • Fossil Fuels > Climate and Environment
  • Energy Infrastructure > Economics and Policy
  • Energy and Development > Systems and Infrastructure
Worldwide induced and triggered seismic events with recorded magnitude ≥1.5 that have been linked to industrial activities. The catalogue (source: http://inducedearthquakes.org/) was updated to include the highest magnitude event recorded at the Pohang geothermal site in South Korea (Grigoli et al., 2018). Several categories were omitted, namely construction, deep penetrating bombs, nuclear explosions, research and coal bed methane. Categories of oil and gas and conventional oil and gas were merged, and oil and gas/waste fluid injection was merged with waste fluid disposal to form the category waste fluid injection. The HiQuake database (Foulger et al., ) includes all earthquake sequences proposed on scientific grounds to have been human‐induced regardless of credibility
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Simulated evolution of seismicity in a distance versus time plot (left) and a numerical seismicity rate plot (right) using the approach of Dinske (). During the simulation, 18,682 seismic events were recorded
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Pore pressure profiles from numerically solving the diffusion equation as a function of time. Injection stop time is at 400,000 seconds
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Pore pressure profiles from numerically solving the diffusion equation as a function of distance to source point
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Approximated and measured injection pressure for the Basel EGS (Dinske, ; Häring et al., )
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Evolution of recorded seismicity during the Basel EGS stimulation as a function of the distance from the well shoe casing versus time (data from Kraft and Deichmann ())
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
A Mohr diagram representation of critical stress state of a fault plane and pore pressure decreasing the effective normal stress. Mohr circle (1) shows the original stress state before pore pressure increase. Pore pressure increase (represented by the blue arrow) leads to a reduction in the compressive stresses, σ1 and σ3, so the more circle shifts left to a new position represented by Mohr circle (2). If the failure envelope, shown by the dashed line and controlled by the coefficient of friction μ and cohesion c, is intersected by the Mohr circle then shear failure occurs and a seismic event is induced
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Illustration of the relative orientation of stress field and fault direction, with the correspondent expected coefficient of friction and likelihood of slip (after StatesFirst ())
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Physical mechanisms that could induce seismicity: (a) and (b) pore pressure (p) increase via a diffusional process, leads to a reduction in the effective normal stress (σ) on preexisting faults allowing shear stress (τ) to overcome frictional resistance to fault sliding; (c) in hydraulic fracturing (1) injection well drilled directly into fault, (2) hydraulic fracture directly intersects fault, (3) fluid flow through existing fractures, (4) through more permeable rock strata above or below shale formations, or through bedding planes that interface the rock strata; (d) changes in the stress field brought about by changes in volume or mass loading transmitted to the fault poroelastically (after (Davies et al., ; Grigoli et al., ; Schultz et al., )
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual number of ML ≥ 3 earthquakes in Central United States (the red cluster in the Centre of the map highlights earthquakes in Oklahoma, 2009–2016) reproduced with permission from (induced seismicity, 2017), copyright USGS
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Browse by Topic

Energy and Development > Systems and Infrastructure
Fossil Fuels > Climate and Environment
Photovoltaics > Climate and Environment
Energy Infrastructure > Economics and Policy

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts