This study proposes that a systematic comparison using integrated 3D visualization of all pertinent data (midplate seismicity, geological and geophysical variables) could help in identifying areas vulnerable to injection-induced seismicity in the North American plate. From similar studies of the South American plate in Brazil’s Potiguar basin, it is found that intraplate seismicity occurs at uplifted basin borders (areas over thin, hot, weaker lithosphere) where pre-existing faults are prone to be reactivated by small pressure perturbations. Conversely, central basins (areas over thick, cold, strong lithosphere) are not prone to seismicity. With this model we investigate Oklahoma (Ok) and North Dakota (ND), both intense areas of injection. ND activity, in the central basin, shows no induced seismicity. In contrast, Ok activity, in a regional-scale ravine in the uplifted basin border, has seen a 62.5-fold increase in recent seismicity. Modeling of the Ok region shows reactivation of pre-existing faults with injection pressures of 1.75 MPa (254 psi; 0.7ppg) between 2000-2200m depths, values that agree with wellhead injection pressure field data.
Deciphering Injection-Induced Seismicity: A Conceptual Model for Explaining Discrepancies Between Oklahoma and North Dakota Activities
Lima, C., Lavorante, L. P., Williams, W. C., Beisl, C., Reis, A. F. C., Carvalho, L. G., and M. Moriss. "Deciphering Injection-Induced Seismicity: A Conceptual Model for Explaining Discrepancies Between Oklahoma and North Dakota Activities." Paper presented at the 51st U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, San Francisco, California, USA, June 2017.
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