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Title: Wastewater disposal and earthquake swarm activity at the southern end of the Central Valley, California

Abstract

Fracture and fault zones can channel fluid flow and transmit injection-induced pore pressure changes over large distances (>km), at which seismicity is rarely suspected to be human induced. We use seismicity analysis and hydrogeological models to examine the role of seismically active faults in inducing earthquakes. We analyze a potentially injection-induced earthquake swarm with three events above M4 near the White Wolf fault (WWF). The swarm deviates from classic main aftershock behavior, exhibiting uncharacteristically low Gutenberg-Richter b of 0.6, and systematic migration patterns. Some smaller events occurred southeast of the WWF in an area of several disposal wells, one of which became active just 5 months before the main swarm activity. Hydrogeological modeling revealed that wastewater disposal likely contributed to seismicity via localized pressure increase along a seismically active fault. Furthermore, our results suggest that induced seismicity may remain undetected in California without detailed analysis of local geologic setting, seismicity, and fluid diffusion.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [4];  [2];  [4]
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice (France); Institut Univ. de France, Paris (France)
  4. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1480711
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; induced seismicity; wastewater disposal; White Wolf fault; fault zone permeability; seismicity migration; b value decrease

Citation Formats

Goebel, T. H. W., Hosseini, S. M., Cappa, F., Hauksson, E., Ampuero, J. P., Aminzadeh, F., and Saleeby, J. B. Wastewater disposal and earthquake swarm activity at the southern end of the Central Valley, California. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/2015GL066948.
Goebel, T. H. W., Hosseini, S. M., Cappa, F., Hauksson, E., Ampuero, J. P., Aminzadeh, F., & Saleeby, J. B. Wastewater disposal and earthquake swarm activity at the southern end of the Central Valley, California. United States. doi:10.1002/2015GL066948.
Goebel, T. H. W., Hosseini, S. M., Cappa, F., Hauksson, E., Ampuero, J. P., Aminzadeh, F., and Saleeby, J. B. Fri . "Wastewater disposal and earthquake swarm activity at the southern end of the Central Valley, California". United States. doi:10.1002/2015GL066948. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1480711.
@article{osti_1480711,
title = {Wastewater disposal and earthquake swarm activity at the southern end of the Central Valley, California},
author = {Goebel, T. H. W. and Hosseini, S. M. and Cappa, F. and Hauksson, E. and Ampuero, J. P. and Aminzadeh, F. and Saleeby, J. B.},
abstractNote = {Fracture and fault zones can channel fluid flow and transmit injection-induced pore pressure changes over large distances (>km), at which seismicity is rarely suspected to be human induced. We use seismicity analysis and hydrogeological models to examine the role of seismically active faults in inducing earthquakes. We analyze a potentially injection-induced earthquake swarm with three events above M4 near the White Wolf fault (WWF). The swarm deviates from classic main aftershock behavior, exhibiting uncharacteristically low Gutenberg-Richter b of 0.6, and systematic migration patterns. Some smaller events occurred southeast of the WWF in an area of several disposal wells, one of which became active just 5 months before the main swarm activity. Hydrogeological modeling revealed that wastewater disposal likely contributed to seismicity via localized pressure increase along a seismically active fault. Furthermore, our results suggest that induced seismicity may remain undetected in California without detailed analysis of local geologic setting, seismicity, and fluid diffusion.},
doi = {10.1002/2015GL066948},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 3,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {1}
}

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