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Title: Geothermal production and reduced seismicity: Correlation and proposed mechanism

At Brady Hot Springs, a geothermal field in Nevada, heated fluids have been extracted, cooled, and re-injected to produce electrical power since 1992. Analysis of daily pumping records and catalogs of microseismicity between 2010 and 2015 indicates a statistically significant correlation between days when the daily volume of production was at or above its long-term average rate and days when no seismic event was detected. Conversely, shutdowns in pumping for plant maintenance correlate with increased microseismicity. Our hypothesis is that the effective stress in the subsurface has adapted to the long-term normal operations (deep extraction) at the site. Under this hypothesis, extraction of fluids inhibits fault slip by increasing the effective stress on faults; in contrast, brief pumping cessations represent times when effective stress is decreased below its long-term average, increasing the likelihood of microseismicity.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ; ORCiD logo [4] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [5] ;  [6] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Dept. of Geoscience
  2. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
  3. ORMAT Technologies Inc., Reno, NV (United States)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  5. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  6. Temple Univ., Philadelphia, PA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
EE0006760; EE0005510; AC02-05CH11231
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 482; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0012-821X
Publisher:
Elsevier
Research Org:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G); ORMAT Technologies Inc., Reno, NV (United States); USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; microseismicity; Brady Hot Springs; correlation; pressure changes; geothermal field; effective stress
OSTI Identifier:
1410405
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1429083; OSTI ID: 1435108