SEG Publishes Special Section on Induced Seismicity

Papers published in the February 2018 issue of The Leading Edge focus on case histories, risk mitigation

Tulsa, OK, 5 Feb 2018 – A new set of papers published in the February 2018 issue of The Leading Edge, a publication of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, highlights recent advances by academia, research organizations, and the oil and gas industry in the area of induced seismicity.

In introducing the special section on induced seismicity the section’s guest editors point out that significant progress has been made recently in understanding induced seismicity as it relates to oil and gas operations. Now, they write, the applied geophysics community is entering a second phase of research in which case histories are bringing the details of human-caused earthquakes into greater focus, early assumptions about earthquake triggers are being assessed, and risk mitigation tools are being tested.

“The first signs of success are on the horizon with the drop in the seismicity rate in Oklahoma in response to changes in injection,” the guest editors write in their introduction. “We expect future work to further focus on practical mitigation measures even as we continue to document the variety of induced seismic behavior.”

The special section comprises eight papers, the first four of which are case studies focused on recent episodes of induced seismicity in the Netherlands, Oklahoma, and western Canada, as well as historical earthquake sequences from the 1930s and 1940s in the southwestern Los Angeles Basin of California. The remaining four papers focus on induced seismicity risk assessment and mitigation, including one that examines the effectiveness of so-called “traffic light protocols,” which seek to characterize the threat level of induced seismicity events and define actions based on the threat level, and another that looks at methods to estimate the strength of the largest earthquake that can be induced or triggered by injection in an area.

Complementing the February special section in The Leading Edge, SEG’s Seismic Soundoff podcast will feature an interview with Mirko van der Baan, who served as a guest editor for the special section and who also recently completed an SEG Honorary Lecture tour of the United States and Canada on the subject of human-induced seismicity.


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