Proximity of Precambrian basement affects the likelihood of induced seismicity in the Appalachian, Illinois, and Williston Basins, central and eastern United States

Geosphere
By: , and 

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Abstract

A dramatic seismicity rate increase in the central and eastern United States (CEUS) over the past decade has been largely associated with the increase in enhanced oil and gas recovery operations and change in industry practices. However, certain areas of the CEUS that have experienced large increases in oil and gas operations, such as the Bakken and Marcellus Shale plays (Williston and Appalachian Basins, respectively), have very little (if any) induced seismicity. No prior study has adequately explained the occurrence or absence of induced seismicity on a regional, basin-to-basin scale in the CEUS. In this study, we improve the basement depth characterization and induced seismicity detection for the Appalachian, Illinois, and Williston Basins to determine whether the proximity of wastewater disposal and/or hydraulic fracturing to the crystalline basement increases the likelihood of induced seismicity. We also investigate the lithologic characteristics of sedimentary strata situated between injection intervals and the crystalline basement to evaluate the role they may play in diminishing the transmission of pore pressure during well stimulations. We find that wastewater disposal in basal sediments or hydraulic fracturing operations <1 km from the Precambrian basement raise the likelihood of induced seismicity, an observation that is consistent with the apparent absence of induced seismicity related to production from the Bakken and Marcellus Shale plays.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Proximity of Precambrian basement affects the likelihood of induced seismicity in the Appalachian, Illinois, and Williston Basins, central and eastern United States
Series title Geosphere
DOI 10.1130/GES01542.1
Volume 14
Issue 3
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 1365
Last page 1379
Country United States
Other Geospatial Appalachian Basin, Illinois Basin, Williston Basin