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Title: Towards the Understanding of Induced Seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Abstract

This DOE funded project was a collaborative effort between Array Information Technology (AIT), the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). It was also part of the European research project “GEISER”, an international collaboration with 11 European partners from six countries including universities, research centers and industry, with the goal to address and mitigate the problems associated with induced seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). The goal of the current project was to develop a combination of techniques, which evaluate the relationship between enhanced geothermal operations and the induced stress changes and associated earthquakes throughout the reservoir and the surrounding country rock. The project addressed the following questions: how enhanced geothermal activity changes the local and regional stress field; whether these activities can induce medium sized seismicity M > 3; (if so) how these events are correlated to geothermal activity in space and time; what is the largest possible event and strongest ground motion, and hence the potential hazard associated with these activities. The development of appropriate technology to thoroughly investigate and address these questions required a number of datasets to provide themore » different physical measurements distributed in space and time. Because such a dataset did not yet exist for an EGS system in the United State, we used current and past data from The Geysers geothermal field in northern California, which has been in operation since the 1960s. The research addressed the need to understand the causal mechanisms of induced seismicity, and demonstrated the advantage of imaging the physical properties and temporal changes of the reservoir. The work helped to model the relationship between injection and production and medium sized magnitude events that have jeopardized, and in some cases suspended, the generation of energy from EGS systems worldwide.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Array Information Technology, Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (Germany, German Research Center for Geosciences
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Array Information Technology, Greenbelt, MD (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1154937
Report Number(s):
Final Report
DOE Contract Number:
EE0002756
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Gritto, Roland, Dreger, Douglas, Heidbach, Oliver, and Hutchings, Lawrence. Towards the Understanding of Induced Seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.2172/1154937.
Gritto, Roland, Dreger, Douglas, Heidbach, Oliver, & Hutchings, Lawrence. Towards the Understanding of Induced Seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems. United States. doi:10.2172/1154937.
Gritto, Roland, Dreger, Douglas, Heidbach, Oliver, and Hutchings, Lawrence. Fri . "Towards the Understanding of Induced Seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems". United States. doi:10.2172/1154937. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1154937.
@article{osti_1154937,
title = {Towards the Understanding of Induced Seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems},
author = {Gritto, Roland and Dreger, Douglas and Heidbach, Oliver and Hutchings, Lawrence},
abstractNote = {This DOE funded project was a collaborative effort between Array Information Technology (AIT), the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). It was also part of the European research project “GEISER”, an international collaboration with 11 European partners from six countries including universities, research centers and industry, with the goal to address and mitigate the problems associated with induced seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). The goal of the current project was to develop a combination of techniques, which evaluate the relationship between enhanced geothermal operations and the induced stress changes and associated earthquakes throughout the reservoir and the surrounding country rock. The project addressed the following questions: how enhanced geothermal activity changes the local and regional stress field; whether these activities can induce medium sized seismicity M > 3; (if so) how these events are correlated to geothermal activity in space and time; what is the largest possible event and strongest ground motion, and hence the potential hazard associated with these activities. The development of appropriate technology to thoroughly investigate and address these questions required a number of datasets to provide the different physical measurements distributed in space and time. Because such a dataset did not yet exist for an EGS system in the United State, we used current and past data from The Geysers geothermal field in northern California, which has been in operation since the 1960s. The research addressed the need to understand the causal mechanisms of induced seismicity, and demonstrated the advantage of imaging the physical properties and temporal changes of the reservoir. The work helped to model the relationship between injection and production and medium sized magnitude events that have jeopardized, and in some cases suspended, the generation of energy from EGS systems worldwide.},
doi = {10.2172/1154937},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 29 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Fri Aug 29 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This Protocol is a living guidance document for geothermal developers, public officials, regulators and the general public that provides a set of general guidelines detailing useful steps to evaluate and manage the effects of induced seismicity related to EGS projects.
  • The objective of this 3-year project is to use various geophysical methods for reservoir and fracture characterization. The targeted field is the Cove Fort-Sulphurdale Geothermal Field in Utah operated by ENEL North America (ENA). Our effort has been focused on 1) understanding the regional and local geological settings around the geothermal field; 2) collecting and assembling various geophysical data sets including heat flow, gravity, magnetotelluric (MT) and seismic surface and body wave data; 3) installing the local temporary seismic network around the geothermal site; 4) imaging the regional and local seismic velocity structure around the geothermal field using seismic travelmore » time tomography; and (5) determining the fracture direction using the shear-wave splitting analysis and focal mechanism analysis. Various geophysical data sets indicate that beneath the Cove Fort-Sulphurdale Geothermal Field, there is a strong anomaly of low seismic velocity, low gravity, high heat flow and high electrical conductivity. These suggest that there is a heat source in the crust beneath the geothermal field. The high-temperature body is on average 150 °C – 200 °C hotter than the surrounding rock. The local seismic velocity and attenuation tomography gives a detailed velocity and attenuation model around the geothermal site, which shows that the major geothermal development target is a high velocity body near surface, composed mainly of monzonite. The major fracture direction points to NNE. The detailed velocity model along with the fracture direction will be helpful for guiding the geothermal development in the Cove Fort area.« less
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  • The purpose of this report is to lay the groundwork for an emerging process to assess U.S. geothermal resources that might be suitable for development as Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Interviews of leading geothermists indicate that doing that will be intertwined with updating assessments of U.S. higher-quality hydrothermal resources and reviewing methods for discovering ''hidden'' hydrothermal and EGS resources. The report reviews the history and status of assessment of high-temperature geothermal resources in the United States. Hydrothermal, Enhanced, and Hot Dry Rock resources are addressed. Geopressured geothermal resources are not. There are three main uses of geothermal resource assessments: (1)more » They inform industry and other interest parties of reasonable estimates of the amounts and likely locations of known and prospective geothermal resources. This provides a basis for private-sector decisions whether or not to enter the geothermal energy business at all, and for where to look for useful resources. (2) They inform government agencies (Federal, State, local) of the same kinds of information. This can inform strategic decisions, such as whether to continue to invest in creating and stimulating a geothermal industry--e.g., through research or financial incentives. And it informs certain agencies, e.g., Department of Interior, about what kinds of tactical operations might be required to support such activities as exploration and leasing. (3) They help the experts who are performing the assessment(s) to clarify their procedures and data, and in turn, provide the other two kinds of users with a more accurate interpretation of what the resulting estimates mean. The process of conducting this assessment brings a spotlight to bear on what has been accomplished in the domain of detecting and understanding reservoirs, in the period since the last major assessment was conducted.« less