A Hydrofracturing-Triggered Earthquake Occurred Three Years after the Stimulation

Lasocki, Stanisław and Rudziński, Łukasz and Tokarski, Antek K. and Orlecka-Sikora, Beata (2022) A Hydrofracturing-Triggered Earthquake Occurred Three Years after the Stimulation. Energies, 15 (1). p. 336. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/en15010336

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/en15010336


Hydrofracturing, used for shale gas exploitation, may induce felt, even damaging earthquakes. On 15 June 2019, an Mw2.8 earthquake occurred, spatially correlated with the location of earlier exploratory hydrofracturing operations for shale gas in Wysin in Poland. However, this earthquake was atypical. Hydrofracturing-triggered seismicity mainly occurs during stimulation; occasionally, it continues a few months after completion of the stimulation. In Wysin, there were only two weaker events during two-month hydrofracturing and then 35 months of seismic silence until the mentioned earthquake occurred. The Wysin site is in Gdańsk Pomerania broader region, located on the very weakly seismically active Precambrian Platform. The historical documents, covering 1000 years, report no natural earthquakes in Gdańsk Pomerania. We conclude, therefore, that despite the never observed before that long lag time after stimulation, the Mw2.8 earthquake was triggered by hydrofracturing. It is possible that its unusually late occurrence in relation to the time of its triggering technological activity was caused by changes in stresses due to time-dependent deformation of reservoir shales. The Wysin earthquake determines a new time horizon for the effect of HF on the stress state, which can lead to triggering earthquakes. Time-dependent deformation and its induced stress changes should be considered in shall gas reservoir exploitation plans.

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Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: hydrofracturing; injection-induced seismicity; shale gas
Subjects: Region > Poland > Wysin
Project: SHEER project > WYSIN: Shale Gas