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Identification of The Processes Triggering Induced Seismicity at the Enhanced Geothermal System of Basel (Switzerland)

Abstract : Felt induced seismicity compromises the public perception on the deployment of geothermal power-plants in urban areas. Large induced earthquakes have led to the shutdown of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), such as Basel (Switzerland) and Pohang (Republic of Korea). In the majority of induced seismicity cases in EGS, the largest events occur after shut-in. Different mechanisms can trigger induced seismicity. Pore pressure diffusion is established as the most common triggering mechanism. It reduces the effective normal stress acting across pre-existing fault surfaces, weakening the shear resistance and allowing slip of faults. However, this is not the only triggering mechanisms and it cannot explain the large magnitude of post-injection induces seismicity. Additional influencing processes are poromechanical elastic stressing, shear stress transfer and local tectonic settings. Considering theses mechanisms simultaneously can provide a better understanding of the causes of post-injection seismicity and could allow to develop strategies to mitigate the occurrence of earthquakes with high magnitude. To explain these processes, we investigate the induced seismicity that led to the closure of the Basel EGS project. We set-up a hydro-mechanical finite element numerical model which contains faults corresponding with the clusters of induced events at Basel. We study the reactivation of these pre-existing fractures using a viscoplastic model. We are able to identify the process combinations bringing faults to failure. During injection, faults fail due to pore pressure diffusion in the vicinity of the well, and due to poroelastic stressing further in the reservoir. After the injection shut in, poroelastic stressing and shear stress transfer trigger seismicity, being the most relevant triggering mechanisms of post-injection induced seismicity.
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Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, June 13, 2022 - 10:14:44 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 3:42:52 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : insu-03693777, version 1


Auregan Boyet, Silvia De Simone, Victor Vilarrasa. Identification of The Processes Triggering Induced Seismicity at the Enhanced Geothermal System of Basel (Switzerland). European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2022 (EGU22), European Geosciences Union, May 2022, Vienna, Austria. pp.EGU22-2160. ⟨insu-03693777⟩



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