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Time-Dependent Stresses From Fluid Extraction and Diffusion With Applications to Induced Seismicity

Lambert, Valère and Tsai, Victor C. (2020) Time-Dependent Stresses From Fluid Extraction and Diffusion With Applications to Induced Seismicity. Journal of Applied Mechanics, 87 (8). Art. No. 081002. ISSN 0021-8936. doi:10.1115/1.4047034.

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Over recent decades, it has become clear that the extraction of fluids from underground reservoirs can be linked to seismicity and aseismic deformation around producing fields. Using a simple model with uniform fluid extraction from a reservoir, Segall (1989, “Earthquakes Triggered by Fluid Extraction,” Geology, 17(10), pp. 942–946) illustrated how poroelastic stresses resulting from fluid withdrawal may be consistent with earthquake focal mechanisms surrounding some producing fields. Since these stress fields depend on the spatial gradient of the change in pore fluid content within the reservoir, both quantitative and qualitative predictions of the stress changes surrounding a reservoir may be considerably affected by assumptions in the geometry and hydraulic properties of the producing zone. Here, we expand upon the work of Segall (1989, “Earthquakes Triggered by Fluid Extraction,” Geology, 17, pp. 942–946 and 1985, “Stress and Subsidence Resulting From Subsurface Fluid Withdrawal in the Epicentral Region of the 1983 Coalinga Earthquake,” J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 90, pp. 6801–6816) to provide a quantitative analysis of the surrounding stresses resulting from fluid extraction and diffusion in a horizontal reservoir. In particular, when considering the diffusion of fluids, the spatial pattern and magnitude of imposed stresses is controlled by the ratio between the volumetric rate of fluid extraction and the reservoir diffusivity. Moreover, the effective reservoir length expands over time along with the diffusion front, predicting a time-dependent rotation of the induced principal stresses from relative tension to compression along the ends of the producing zone. This reversal in perturbed principal stress directions may manifest as a rotation in earthquake focal mechanisms or varied sensitivity to poroelastic triggering, depending upon the criticality of the pre-existing stress state and fault orientations, which may explain inferred rotations in principal stress directions associated with some induced seismicity.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Lambert, Valère0000-0002-6174-9651
Tsai, Victor C.0000-0003-1809-6672
Additional Information:© 2020 by ASME. Paper No: JAM-20-1033. Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Applied Mechanics. Manuscript received January 20, 2020; final manuscript received April 20, 2020; published online May 14, 2020.
Group:Center for Geomechanics and Mitigation of Geohazards (GMG), Seismological Laboratory
Subject Keywords:computational mechanics, elasticity, stress analysis
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200813-074456541
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Lambert, V., and Tsai, V. C. (May 14, 2020). "Time-Dependent Stresses From Fluid Extraction and Diffusion With Applications to Induced Seismicity." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. August 2020; 87(8): 081002.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104947
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Aug 2020 16:05
Last Modified:15 Nov 2022 19:15

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