We have inverted polarity and amplitude information of representative microearthquakes to investigate source mechanisms of seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing in the Carthage Cotton Valley, east Texas, gas field. With vertical arrays of four and eight three-component geophones in two monitoring wells, respectively, we were able to reliably determine source mechanisms of the strongest events with the best signal-to-noise ratio. Our analysis indicates predominantly non-double-couple source mechanisms with positive volumetric component consistent with opening cracks oriented close to expected hydraulic fracture orientation. Our observations suggest the induced events are directly the result of opening cracks by fluid injection, in contrast to many previous studies where the seismicity is interpreted to be primarily shearing caused by pore pressure diffusion into the surrounding rock or associated with shear stresses created at the hydraulic fracture tip. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Non-double-couple mechanisms of microearthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing