Earthquakes Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing and Wastewater Injection in Guy-Greenbrier, Arkansas

Clara E. Yoon, Yihe Huang, William L. Ellsworth, & Gregory C. Beroza

Submitted August 10, 2016, SCEC Contribution #6616, 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #194

The Guy-Greenbrier, Arkansas, earthquake sequence, which occurred from July 2010 through October 2011, was potentially induced by injection of wastewater from nearby hydraulic fracturing operations into disposal wells (Horton, 2012). To gain insight into the initial stages of this earthquake sequence, we detected and located earthquakes during a three month time period from 2010-06-01 to 2010-08-31, spanning a time interval before and after the beginning of the sequence in July 2010. We then examined spatial and temporal correlations between seismicity, wastewater injection, and hydraulic fracture stimulation of production wells.

Although the Arkansas seismic network is sparse, the Fingerprint And Similarity Thresholding (FAST) method (Yoon et al., 2015) enabled comprehensive detection of ~14,000 low-magnitude earthquakes ranging from M ~ -1 to 1.8 in continuous seismic data from a single 3-component station WHAR. We then located the largest 756 (M > 0) earthquakes with data from two additional stations, ARK1 and ARK2, in a small local network, using the velocity model from Ogwari et al. (2016).

The majority of these earthquakes are located at the north end of the Guy-Greenbrier Fault, a previously unknown fault that would later be illuminated by hundreds of thousands of earthquakes in 2010-2011. By comparing the stimulation and disposal history of wells in the area with precise earthquake locations, we find that many of the earthquakes are closely correlated in space and time with either hydraulic fracturing operations or wastewater injection. We also observe several distinct clusters of seismicity off the Guy-Greenbrier Fault that closely follow hydraulic fracturing stimulation at a nearby production well.

Our retrospective analysis indicates that high accuracy earthquake locations with low magnitude detection thresholds can provide new insights into sources of potentially induced seismicity.

Key Words
earthquake detection, induced seismicity, hydraulic fracturing

Citation
Yoon, C. E., Huang, Y., Ellsworth, W. L., & Beroza, G. C. (2016, 08). Earthquakes Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing and Wastewater Injection in Guy-Greenbrier, Arkansas. Poster Presentation at 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting.


Related Projects & Working Groups
Seismology