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Induced Seismicity in the Delaware Basin

Justin L. Rubinstein

Submitted September 11, 2022, SCEC Contribution #12127, 2022 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #020

Since 2015, the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas has experienced a surge in seismicity that is continuing to rise. This seismicity is primarily caused by wastewater disposal, although earthquakes in some areas are being induced by hydraulic fracturing. Through the end of July, the rate of M3+ earthquakes in the Permian Basin is higher than in California for the year 2022. Most of the seismicity lies within the Texas portion of the Basin, including the largest earthquake to occur during this surge in seismicity – the March 2020, M5.0 earthquake near Mentone, TX. While the seismicity rate in the New Mexico portion of the basin is lower than Texas, significant seismicity has been occurring in the area, including a M4 earthquake in 2021. In response to the growing seismicity southeastern New Mexico, and in collaboration the New Mexico Bureau of Geology, the USGS deployed a 14-station seismic network in the region. With this network, I have detected and manually located over 1400 earthquakes, many of which lie in New Mexico. Here I will present analyses of this seismicity, including a new velocity model, a fault map, and the state of stress from focal mechanism inversion. I will also explore the relationship between seismicity and both wastewater disposal and hydraulic fracturing in the area.

Rubinstein, J. L. (2022, 09). Induced Seismicity in the Delaware Basin. Poster Presentation at 2022 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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