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Probabilistic earthquake locations of induced seismicity in the Groningen region, the Netherlands

Smith, Jonathan D. and White, Robert S. and Avouac, Jean-Philippe and Bourne, Stephen (2020) Probabilistic earthquake locations of induced seismicity in the Groningen region, the Netherlands. Geophysical Journal International, 222 (1). pp. 507-516. ISSN 0956-540X. doi:10.1093/gji/ggaa179.

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The Groningen gas reservoir, situated in the northeast of the Netherlands, is western Europe’s largest producing gas field and has been in production since 1963. The gas production has induced both subsidence and seismicity. Seismicity is detected and located using the Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut shallow-borehole array for the period 2015–2017, incorporating the back projection techniques of QuakeMigrate and the nonlinear location procedure to constrain earthquake locations and depths. The uncertainties on the estimated depths are estimated taking into account velocity model, changes in station array geometry and uncertainties in the measurement of arrival times of the P and S waves. We show that the depth distribution of seismicity is consistent with nucleation within the reservoir (28 per cent) or in the overburden (60 per cent) within ∼500 m from the top of the reservoir. Earthquakes with hypocentres in the overburden likely originate from overlying Zechstein anhydrite caprock. Based on their depth distribution, it seems like the earthquakes are primarily driven by the elastic strain in the reservoir and overburden, induced by the reservoir compaction. We estimate the probability of earthquakes nucleating beneath the reservoir in the underlying Carboniferous limestone and basement, to be no more than 12 per cent.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Smith, Jonathan D.0000-0002-1684-1344
Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Bourne, Stephen0000-0003-2925-8411
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 April 4. Received 2020 March 24; in original form 2019 January 14. J.S. was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC; Grant RG81432; Geomechanical Properties of the Groningen Reservoir) with CASE support from Shell Global Solutions International B.V. The data for this paper can be found in the Supporting Information. Waveform data were provided by Koninkljjk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut ( We gratefully acknowledge data and support from Nederlandse Aardoli Maatschappij (Jan Van Elk, Gini Ketellar and Dirk Doornhof) and Shell Global Solutions (Stijn Bierman, Steve Oates, Rick Wentinck, Xander Campman, Alexander Droujinine and Chris Willacy).
Group:Center for Geomechanics and Mitigation of Geohazards (GMG), Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)RG81432
Subject Keywords:Earthquake hazards, Earthquake source observations, Induced seismicity
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200625-112849428
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Official Citation:Jonathan D Smith, Robert S White, Jean-Philippe Avouac, Stephen Bourne, Probabilistic earthquake locations of induced seismicity in the Groningen region, the Netherlands, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 222, Issue 1, July 2020, Pages 507–516,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104045
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Jun 2020 14:19
Last Modified:15 Nov 2022 19:18

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