Passive seismic monitoring of natural and induced earthquakes: case studies, future directions and socio-economic relevance

By: , and 
Edited by: Sierd Cloetingh and Jörg Negendank

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Abstract

An important discovery in crustal mechanics has been that the Earth’s crust is commonly stressed close to failure, even in tectonically quiet areas. As a result, small natural or man-made perturbations to the local stress field may trigger earthquakes. To understand these processes, Passive Seismic Monitoring (PSM) with seismometer arrays is a widely used technique that has been successfully applied to study seismicity at different magnitude levels ranging from acoustic emissions generated in the laboratory under controlled conditions, to seismicity induced by hydraulic stimulations in geological reservoirs, and up to great earthquakes occurring along plate boundaries. In all these environments the appropriate deployment of seismic sensors, i.e., directly on the rock sample, at the earth’s surface or in boreholes close to the seismic sources allows for the detection and location of brittle failure processes at sufficiently low magnitude-detection threshold and with adequate spatial resolution for further analysis. One principal aim is to develop an improved understanding of the physical processes occurring at the seismic source and their relationship to the host geologic environment. In this paper we review selected case studies and future directions of PSM efforts across a wide range of scales and environments. These include induced failure within small rock samples, hydrocarbon reservoirs, and natural seismicity at convergent and transform plate boundaries. Each example represents a milestone with regard to bridging the gap between laboratory-scale experiments under controlled boundary conditions and large-scale field studies. The common motivation for all studies is to refine the understanding of how earthquakes nucleate, how they proceed and how they interact in space and time. This is of special relevance at the larger end of the magnitude scale, i.e., for large devastating earthquakes due to their severe socio-economic impact.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Passive seismic monitoring of natural and induced earthquakes: case studies, future directions and socio-economic relevance
DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-2737-5_7
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Springer
Publisher location Dordrecht; New York
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 25 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title New frontiers in integrated solid earth sciences
First page 261
Last page 285
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N