Static behaviour of induced seismicity
- Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract. The standard paradigm to describe seismicity induced by fluid injection is to apply non-linear diffusion dynamics in a poroelastic medium. I show that the spatio-temporal behaviour and rate evolution of induced seismicity can, instead, be expressed by geometric operations on a static stress field produced by volume change at depth. I obtain laws similar in form to the ones derived from poroelasticity while requiring a lower description length. Although fluid flow is known to occur in the ground, it is not pertinent to the geometrical description of the spatio-temporal patterns of induced seismicity. The proposed model is equivalent to the static stress model for tectonic foreshocks generated by the Non-Critical Precursory Accelerating Seismicity Theory. This study hence verifies the explanatory power of this theory outside of its original scope and provides an alternative physical approach to poroelasticity for the modelling of induced seismicity. The applicability of the proposed geometrical approach is illustrated for the case of the 2006, Basel enhanced geothermal system stimulation experiment. Applicability to more problematic cases where the stress field may be spatially heterogeneous is also discussed.