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Can faults become barriers for deep fluid circulation? Insights from high-resolution seismic VSP tomography at the Soultz-sous-Forêts geothermal site

Abstract : Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) surveys are generally used for modelling converted phases of the seismic body waves propagating in the medium allowing the detection of waves interpreted as reflections on steeply dipping reflecting structures such as faults, abrupt lateral changes of lithology, and fractures. At the Enhanced Geothermal System geothermal field of Soultz-sous-Forêts the analysis of data recorded during a VSP experiment allowed describing the presence of at least two structures near the wells. Here we show how seismic tomography method can be applied to the VSP data to reconstruct the 3-D shape of structures in the volume surrounding the geothermal wells. The three-dimensional P wave velocity model obtained shows positive velocity anomalies associated with the main faults observed by the VSP analysis and negative anomalies in the regions affected by massive hydraulic stimulations performed in the past. This pattern can be explained as a different response of the rock volume to the fluid injections where regions marked by relative pre-existing high permeability were less affected by the hydraulic stimulations. This difference in permeability produced regions that could work as barriers for fluid diffusion through the reservoir. Comparisons of our high resolved model with the location of the induced seismicity and with another model obtained using seismic noise correlation give evidence of the presence of these structures and may explain the poor connection between the wells GPK4 and GPK2-GPK3 system.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 11:53:18 AM
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Marco Calò, Catherine Dorbath, Paul Lubrano Lavadera. Can faults become barriers for deep fluid circulation? Insights from high-resolution seismic VSP tomography at the Soultz-sous-Forêts geothermal site. Geophysical Research Letters, 2016, 43, pp.8986-8993. ⟨10.1002/2016GL069623⟩. ⟨insu-03707897⟩

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