Cubic-meter scale laboratory fault re-activation experiments to improve the understanding of induced seismicity risks

Volker Oye, Sergey Stanchits, Oladipupo Babarinde, Robert Bauer, Anna Maria Dichiarante, Nadège Langet, Bettina Goertz-Allmann, Scott Frailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To understand fluid induced seismicity, we have designed a large-scale laboratory experiment consisting of a one-cubic-meter sandstone with an artificial fault cut and fluid-injection boreholes. The sandstone block is assembled in a true triaxial loading frame and equipped with 38 piezoelectric sensors to locate and characterise acoustic emission events. The differential stress on the artificial fault is increased in stages to bring it towards a critically stressed state. After each stage of differential stress increase, fluids are injected at low pressures through boreholes to test the potential of fault re-activation. In addition, a high-pressure injection was conducted that created a hydraulic fracture from the injection borehole towards the artificial fault. The newly generated fluid pathway resulted in an activation of the complete block through a stick–slip movement. We compare acoustic emission measurements from the laboratory experiment with seismicity observations from the field-scale CO2 injection at Decatur, Illinois, U.S., and conclude that the existence of fluid pathways plays a decisive role for the potential of induced seismicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8015
JournalScientific reports
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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