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Ridgecrest aftershocks at Coso suppressed by thermal destressing

Im, Kyungjae and Avouac, Jean-Philippe and Heimisson, Elías R. and Elsworth, Derek (2021) Ridgecrest aftershocks at Coso suppressed by thermal destressing. Nature, 595 (7865). pp. 70-74. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03601-4. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210426-094559595

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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 1: Seismicity before and after the Ridgecrest mainshock (5 July 2019) in and around the Coso area) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 2: History of seismicity in the Coso area) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 3: Change of focal mechanism in the Coso main field area and effective stress changes predicted by the simulation) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 8: Predicted surface deformation due to changes in pore pressure alone) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 11: Cumulative shear strain at the conclusion of the reference simulation (after 30 years of production)) - Supplemental Material
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Abstract

Geothermal and volcanic areas are prone to earthquake triggering. The Coso geothermal field in California lies just north of the surface ruptures driven by the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake (moment magnitude M_w = 7.1), in an area where changes in coseismic stress should have triggered aftershocks. However, no aftershocks were observed there. Here we show that 30 years of geothermal heat production at Coso depleted shear stresses within the geothermal reservoir. Thermal contraction of the reservoir initially induced substantial seismicity, as observed in the Coso geothermal reservoir, but subsequently depleted the stress available to drive the aftershocks during the Ridgecrest sequence. This destressing changed the faulting style of the reservoir and impeded aftershock triggering. Although unlikely to have been the case for the Ridgecrest earthquake, such a destressed zone could, in principle, impede the propagation of a large earthquake.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03601-4DOIArticle
https://rdcu.be/cnRdbPublisherFree ReadCube access
https://scedc.caltech.edu/data/alt-2011-dd-hauksson-yang-shearer.htmlRelated ItemSeismic catalogue
https://maps.conservation.ca.gov/doggr/wellfinderRelated ItemCoso field well location and flow rate data
https://www.conservation.ca.gov/calgem/geothermal/manual/Pages/production.aspxRelated ItemCoso field well location and flow rate data
https://doi.org/10.22002/D1.1455DOISimulation data; OUGH–FLAC coupled simulator
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Im, Kyungjae0000-0003-0057-3119
Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Heimisson, Elías R.0000-0001-8342-7226
Elsworth, Derek0000-0002-4942-1151
Additional Information:© 2021 Nature Publishing Group. Received 28 June 2020; Accepted 30 April 2021; Published 30 June 2021. This study was supported by the National Science Foundation via the IUCR center Geomechanics and Mitigation of Geohazards (award number 1822214) and via the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). The SCEC is funded by NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-1600087 and USGS Cooperative Agreement G17AC00047. Data availability: The seismic catalogue is publicly available from the Southern California Earthquake Data Center (https://scedc.caltech.edu/data/alt-2011-dd-hauksson-yang-shearer.html). The Coso field well location and flow rate data are available from the California Department of Conservation (https://maps.conservation.ca.gov/doggr/wellfinder, https://www.conservation.ca.gov/calgem/geothermal/manual/Pages/production.aspx). Simulation data are available in the Caltech data repository (https://doi.org/10.22002/D1.1455). Source data are provided with this paper. Code availability: The TOUGH–FLAC coupled simulator and all input files are available in the Caltech data repository (https://doi.org/10.22002/D1.1455). Author Contributions: K.I. carried out the data analysis and numerical simulations. E.R.H. computed the coseismic Coulomb stress changes. D.E. provided the simulator TOUGH–FLAC. K.I. and J.-P.A. designed the study and wrote the Article. All authors edited the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature thanks Roland Burgmann, J. Ole Kaven and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFICER-1822214
Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)UNSPECIFIED
NSFEAR-1600087
USGSG17AC00047
Issue or Number:7865
DOI:10.1038/s41586-021-03601-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210426-094559595
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210426-094559595
Official Citation:Im, K., Avouac, JP., Heimisson, E.R. et al. Ridgecrest aftershocks at Coso suppressed by thermal destressing. Nature 595, 70–74 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03601-4
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108853
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:06 Jul 2021 18:45
Last Modified:06 Jul 2021 18:45

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