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Triggering mechanisms of the induced seismicity at the Underground Gas Storage of Castor, Spain

Abstract : Cushion gas injection at the Underground Gas Storage (UGS) project of Castor, Spain, induced hundreds of events, including thirteen with magnitude higher than 3.5 that were felt by the local population and led to project cancellation. The sequence of felt events comprises the three largest earthquakes (M4.08, M4.01 and M3.97) ever induced by any of the more than 640 UGS facilities around the world. The largest earthquakes occurred 20 days after shut-in, when pore pressure buildup had already dissipated. The induced earthquakes nucleated at depths ranging from 4 to 10 km, significantly deeper than the storage formation, which is located at 1.7 km depth. These features of the induced seismicity disregard pore pressure buildup as the triggering mechanism. Our analyses show that seismicity was induced by gas injection, which reactivated the critically stressed Amposta fault. The Amposta fault, which bounds the storage formation, is a mature fault with very low permeability as a result of clay accumulation into its core resulting from its 1,000-m offset. Pore pressure buildup, but specially buoyancy of the gas, which continued to act after shut-in, destabilized the Amposta fault aseismically. The accumulation of aseismic slip caused stress transfer, destabilizing a deep critically stressed fault. Subsequently, shear slip stress transfer combined with slip-driven pore pressure changes, induced the sequence of felt earthquakes. We conclude that the induced earthquakes at Castor could have been avoided because fault stability analysis reveals the high risk of inducing seismicity.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 13, 2022 - 10:11:10 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 3:29:21 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : insu-03693772, version 1


Victor Vilarrasa, Silvia De Simone, Jesus Carrera, Antonio Villaseñor. Triggering mechanisms of the induced seismicity at the Underground Gas Storage of Castor, Spain. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2022 (EGU22), European Geosciences Union, May 2022, Vienna, Austria. pp.EGU22-11538. ⟨insu-03693772⟩



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