The Coso geothermal area: A laboratory for advanced MEQ studies for geothermal monitoring

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The permanent 16-station network of three-component digital seismometers at the Coso geothermal area, California, supplemented by 14 temporary instruments deployed in connection with the DOE Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Project, provides high-quality microearthquake (MEQ) recordings that are well suited to monitoring a producing geothermal area. We are currently using these data to investigate structure and active processes within the geothermal reservoir by applying three advanced methods: a) high-precision MEQ hypocenter location; b) time-dependent tomography; c) complete (moment tensor) MEQ source mechanism determination. Preliminary results to date resolve seismogenic structures in the producing field more clearly than is possible with conventional earthquake-location techniques. A shallow part of the producing field shows clear changes in the ratio of the seismic wave speeds, Vp/V s, between 1996 and 2002, which are probably related to physical changes in the reservoir caused by fluid extraction.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
The Coso geothermal area: A laboratory for advanced MEQ studies for geothermal monitoring
Year Published:
Larger Work Title:
Transactions - Geothermal Resources Council
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Last page:
Conference Title:
Geothermal Energy: The Reliable Renewable - Geothermal Resources Council 2004 Annual Meeting, GRC
Conference Location:
Indian Wells, CA
Conference Date:
29 August 2004 through 1 September 2004