Human Induced Earthquakes – A Blessing and a Curse

Managing human induced seismicity is one of the grand challenges for GeoEnergy applications that alter the stress and pore pressure condition in the deep underground.

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Oil and gas extraction, waste water disposal, ground water extraction, seasonal gas storage, CO2 storage as well as deep geothermal energy exploitation can induce hydro-shearing on critically pre-stressed faults, which is often a required element in creating a permanent permeability enhancement in the reservoir.  However, the associated nuisance, the potential seismic hazard and the threat to cap rock integrity related to induced earthquakes can delay or in some cases stop GeoEnergy projects.

For example, wastewater related projects in the eastern US have more than doubled the rate of naturally occurring M>=3.0 earthquake, and recently induced earthquakes as large as magnitude 5.7 in Oklahoma in 2011. Earthquakes of up to magnitude 3.6 in the Gronigen gas field are causing increasing concern in the local population, deep geothermal energy projects in Basel and St. Gallen have been abandoned or delayed, and fracking related projects in Blackpool and Horne River have been greatly impacted. This talk will review our current (lack of) understanding of induced seismicity and outline how our research team at ETH is trying to address these challenges.

Englischer Vortrag von Prof. Stefan Wiemer, Chair of Seismology and Director, Swiss Seismological Service Zürich.

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Institut für Geologie, Baltzerstrasse 3, Studer Auditorium, 2.OG






2599251 1200035

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Institut für Geologie

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