Aseismic deformations perturb the stress state and trigger induced seismicity during injection experiments


Laure Duboeuf - NORSAR

Lois De Barros

Maria Kakurina

Yves Guglielmi

Frederic Cappa

Benoit Valley

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Fluid injections can trigger seismicity even on faults that are not optimally oriented for reactivation, suggesting either sufficiently large fluid pressure or local stress perturbations. Understanding how stress field may be perturbed during fluid injections is crucial in assessing the risk of induced seismicity and the efficiency of deep fluid stimulation projects.

Here, we focus on a series of in situ decametric experiments of fluid-induced seismicity, performed at 280 m depth in an underground gallery, while synchronously monitoring the fluid pressure and the activated fractures movements. During the injections, seismicity occurred on existing natural fractures and bedding planes that are misoriented to slip relative to the background stress state, which was determined from the joint inversion of downhole fluid pressure and mechanical displacements measured at the injection. We then compare this background stress with the one estimated from the inversion of earthquake focal mechanisms. We find significant differences in the orientation of the stress tensor components, thus highlighting local perturbations.

After discussing the influence of the gallery, the pore pressure variation and the geology, we show that the significant stress perturbations induced by the aseismic deformation (which represents more than 96 per cent of the total deformation) trigger the seismic reactivation of fractures with different orientations.

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