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Title: Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO 2 could leak

Abstract

Zoback and Gorelick [(2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(26):10164–10168] have claimed that geologic carbon storage in deep saline formations is very likely to trigger large induced seismicity, which may damage the caprock and ruin the objective of keeping CO 2 stored deep underground. We argue that felt induced earthquakes due to geologic CO 2 storage are unlikely because ( i ) sedimentary formations, which are softer than the crystalline basement, are rarely critically stressed; ( ii ) the least stable situation occurs at the beginning of injection, which makes it easy to control; ( iii ) CO 2 dissolution into brine may help in reducing overpressure; and ( iv ) CO 2 will not flow across the caprock because of capillarity, but brine will, which will reduce overpressure further. The latter two mechanisms ensure that overpressures caused by CO 2 injection will dissipate in a moderate time after injection stops, hindering the occurrence of postinjection induced seismicity. Furthermore, even if microseismicity were induced, CO 2 leakage through fault reactivation would be unlikely because the high clay content of caprocks ensures a reduced permeability and increased entry pressure along the localized deformation zone. For these reasons, we contend that properlymore » sited and managed geologic carbon storage in deep saline formations remains a safe option to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1235178
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 112 Journal Issue: 19; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Vilarrasa, Victor, and Carrera, Jesus. Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO 2 could leak. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1413284112.
Vilarrasa, Victor, & Carrera, Jesus. Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO 2 could leak. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1413284112.
Vilarrasa, Victor, and Carrera, Jesus. Mon . "Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO 2 could leak". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1413284112.
@article{osti_1235178,
title = {Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO 2 could leak},
author = {Vilarrasa, Victor and Carrera, Jesus},
abstractNote = {Zoback and Gorelick [(2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(26):10164–10168] have claimed that geologic carbon storage in deep saline formations is very likely to trigger large induced seismicity, which may damage the caprock and ruin the objective of keeping CO 2 stored deep underground. We argue that felt induced earthquakes due to geologic CO 2 storage are unlikely because ( i ) sedimentary formations, which are softer than the crystalline basement, are rarely critically stressed; ( ii ) the least stable situation occurs at the beginning of injection, which makes it easy to control; ( iii ) CO 2 dissolution into brine may help in reducing overpressure; and ( iv ) CO 2 will not flow across the caprock because of capillarity, but brine will, which will reduce overpressure further. The latter two mechanisms ensure that overpressures caused by CO 2 injection will dissipate in a moderate time after injection stops, hindering the occurrence of postinjection induced seismicity. Furthermore, even if microseismicity were induced, CO 2 leakage through fault reactivation would be unlikely because the high clay content of caprocks ensures a reduced permeability and increased entry pressure along the localized deformation zone. For these reasons, we contend that properly sited and managed geologic carbon storage in deep saline formations remains a safe option to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1413284112},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 19,
volume = 112,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {4}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1413284112

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