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Title: Source characteristics and geological implications of the January 2016 induced earthquake swarm near Crooked Lake, Alberta

Abstract

On 2016 January 12, an intraplate earthquake with an initial reported local magnitude (M L) of 4.8 shook the town of Fox Creek, Alberta. While there were no reported damages, this earthquake was widely felt by the local residents and suspected to be induced by the nearby hydraulic-fracturing (HF) operations. We determine the earthquake source parameters using moment tensor inversions, and then detect and locate the associated swarm using a waveform cross-correlation based method. The broad-band seismic recordings from regional arrays suggest a moment magnitude (M) 4.1 for this event, which is the largest in Alberta in the past decade. Similar to other recent M ~ 3 earthquakes near Fox Creek, the 2016 January 12 earthquake exhibits a dominant strike-slip (strike = 184°) mechanism with limited non-double-couple components (~22 per cent). This resolved focal mechanism, which is also supported by forward modelling and P-wave first motion analysis, indicates an NE–SW oriented compressional axis consistent with the maximum compressive horizontal stress orientations delineated from borehole breakouts. Further detection analysis on industry-contributed recordings unveils 1108 smaller events within 3 km radius of the epicentre of the main event, showing a close spatial-temporal relation to a nearby HF well. The majority of themore » detected events are located above the basement, comparable to the injection depth (3.5 km) on the Duvernay shale Formation. The spatial distribution of this earthquake cluster further suggests that (1) the source of the sequence is an N–S-striking fault system and (2) these earthquakes were induced by an HF well close to but different from the well that triggered a previous (January 2015) earthquake swarm. Reactivation of pre-existing, N-S oriented faults analogous to the Pine Creek fault zone, which was reported by earlier studies of active source seismic and aeromagnetic data, are likely responsible for the occurrence of the January 2016 earthquake swarm and other recent events in the Crooked Lake area.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Canada)
  2. Alberta Geological Survey, Edmonton, AB (Canada)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Yokohama City Univ. (Japan)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Canada); Alberta Geological Survey, Edmonton, AB (Canada)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G); Natural Resources Canada
OSTI Identifier:
1485401
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-22632
Journal ID: ISSN 0956-540X
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Journal International
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 210; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0956-540X
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; North America; earthquake dynamics; earthquake source observations; fractures, faults, and high strain deformation zones; mechanics, theory, and modelling; transform faults

Citation Formats

Wang, Ruijia, Gu, Yu Jeffrey, Schultz, Ryan, Zhang, Miao, and Kim, Ahyi. Source characteristics and geological implications of the January 2016 induced earthquake swarm near Crooked Lake, Alberta. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1093/gji/ggx204.
Wang, Ruijia, Gu, Yu Jeffrey, Schultz, Ryan, Zhang, Miao, & Kim, Ahyi. Source characteristics and geological implications of the January 2016 induced earthquake swarm near Crooked Lake, Alberta. United States. doi:10.1093/gji/ggx204.
Wang, Ruijia, Gu, Yu Jeffrey, Schultz, Ryan, Zhang, Miao, and Kim, Ahyi. Fri . "Source characteristics and geological implications of the January 2016 induced earthquake swarm near Crooked Lake, Alberta". United States. doi:10.1093/gji/ggx204. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1485401.
@article{osti_1485401,
title = {Source characteristics and geological implications of the January 2016 induced earthquake swarm near Crooked Lake, Alberta},
author = {Wang, Ruijia and Gu, Yu Jeffrey and Schultz, Ryan and Zhang, Miao and Kim, Ahyi},
abstractNote = {On 2016 January 12, an intraplate earthquake with an initial reported local magnitude (ML) of 4.8 shook the town of Fox Creek, Alberta. While there were no reported damages, this earthquake was widely felt by the local residents and suspected to be induced by the nearby hydraulic-fracturing (HF) operations. We determine the earthquake source parameters using moment tensor inversions, and then detect and locate the associated swarm using a waveform cross-correlation based method. The broad-band seismic recordings from regional arrays suggest a moment magnitude (M) 4.1 for this event, which is the largest in Alberta in the past decade. Similar to other recent M ~ 3 earthquakes near Fox Creek, the 2016 January 12 earthquake exhibits a dominant strike-slip (strike = 184°) mechanism with limited non-double-couple components (~22 per cent). This resolved focal mechanism, which is also supported by forward modelling and P-wave first motion analysis, indicates an NE–SW oriented compressional axis consistent with the maximum compressive horizontal stress orientations delineated from borehole breakouts. Further detection analysis on industry-contributed recordings unveils 1108 smaller events within 3 km radius of the epicentre of the main event, showing a close spatial-temporal relation to a nearby HF well. The majority of the detected events are located above the basement, comparable to the injection depth (3.5 km) on the Duvernay shale Formation. The spatial distribution of this earthquake cluster further suggests that (1) the source of the sequence is an N–S-striking fault system and (2) these earthquakes were induced by an HF well close to but different from the well that triggered a previous (January 2015) earthquake swarm. Reactivation of pre-existing, N-S oriented faults analogous to the Pine Creek fault zone, which was reported by earlier studies of active source seismic and aeromagnetic data, are likely responsible for the occurrence of the January 2016 earthquake swarm and other recent events in the Crooked Lake area.},
doi = {10.1093/gji/ggx204},
journal = {Geophysical Journal International},
number = 2,
volume = 210,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {5}
}

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Cited by: 13 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Spatial distribution of seismic monitoring stations and earthquakes (circles) since 2013; M > 4 earthquakes are shown in red. The area of occurrence of the Duvernay Formation is shaded in light green, with the wet-gas region highlighted in yellow (Rokosh et al. 2012). Crustal stress orientations obtained frommore » borehole breakouts are shown by the grey lines. The map inset shows the epicenters of the January 12, 2016 event reported by different agencies (red stars): U. S. Geological Survey (USGS); Nanometrics Athena (NMX); Saint Louis University earthquake center (SLU); Alberta Geological Survey (AGS); Natural Resources Canada (NRC), where “p” and “u” indicate the previous and updated locations, respectively.« less

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