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TitleInvestigation of regional seismicity before and after hydraulic fracturing in the Horn River Basin, northeast British Columbia
AuthorFarahbod, A M; Kao, H; Walker, D M; Cassidy, J F
SourceCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences vol. 52, 2015 p. 1-11, https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2014-0162
Year2015
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140240
PublisherNRC
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia; Northwest Territories; Yukon
NTS94I; 94J; 94K/01; 94K/02; 94K/07; 94K/08; 94K/09; 94K/10; 94K/15; 94K/16; 94N/01; 94N/02; 94N/07; 94N/08; 94N/09; 94N/10; 94N/15; 94N/16; 94O; 94P; 95A; 95B; 95C/01; 95C/02; 95C/07; 95C/08; 95C/09; 95C/10; 95C/15; 95C/16
AreaHorn River Basin; Fort Nelson
Lat/Long WENS-125.0000 -120.0000 61.0000 58.0000
Subjectsfossil fuels; geophysics; hydraulic fracturing; fracturing; seismicity; seismic data; earthquake mechanisms; earthquake risk; earthquake studies; hydrocarbon recovery; regional seismicity
Illustrationslocation maps; seismic maps; seismographs; graphs; tables
ProgramShale Gas - seismicity, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractWe systematically re-analyzed historical seismograms to verify the existence of background seismicity in the Horn River Basin of northeast British Columbia before the start of regional shale gas development. We also carefully relocated local earthquakes that occurred between December 2006 and December 2011 to delineate their spatiotemporal relationship with hydraulic fracturing (HF) operations in the region. Scattered seismic events were detected in the Horn River Basin throughout the study periods. The located seismicity within 100 km of the Fort Nelson seismic station had a clearly increasing trend, specifically in the Etsho area where most local HF operations were performed. The number of events was increased from 24 in 2002-2003 (prior to HF operations) to 131 in 2011 (peak period of HF operations). In addition, maximum magnitude of the events was shifted from ML 2.9 to ML 3.6 as the scale of HF operation expanded from 2006-2007 to 2011. Based on our relocated earthquake catalog, the overall b value is estimated at 1.21, which is higher than the average of tectonic/natural earthquakes of \'021.0. Our observations highly support the likelihood of a physical relationship between HF operation and induced seismicity in the Horn River Basin. Unfortunately, due to the sparse station density in the region, depth resolution is poor for the vast majority of events in our study area. As new seismograph stations are established in northeast British Columbia, both epicentral mislocation and depth uncertainty for future events are expected to improve significantly.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This article presents the conclusion of our investigation into the possible link between the variation of regional seismic pattern and the hydraulic fracturing (HF) operations in the Horn River basin (HRB), northeast British Columbia. By systematically re-analyzing seismograms collected both before and after HF started, we have found that the located seismicity within 100 km from the Fort Nelson seismic station had a clearly increasing trend, specifically in the Etsho area where most local HF operations were performed. The number of events was increased from 24 in 2002-2003 (prior to HF operations) to 131 in 2011 (peak period of HF operations). In addition, maximum magnitude of the events was shifted from 2.9 to 3.6 as the scale of HF operation expanded from 2006-2007 to 2011. Our observations highly support the likelihood of a physical relationship between HF operation and induced seismicity in the HRB.
GEOSCAN ID295311