RISC workshops and Meetings

RISC WEBINAR: December 7, 2021, 2pm Central / 3pm Eastern / Noon Pacific / 1pm Mountain
"Improving the catalog of induced seismicity in southeastern New Mexico"

Mairi Litherland, Ph.D.
Seismic Network Manager, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources

Dino Huang, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Bureau of Economic Geology

The New Mexico Tech Seismological Observatory has been monitoring seismicity in southeastern New Mexico for several decades as part of routine monitoring for the WIPP nuclear waste disposal site. In recent years the number of observed events in this area has increased substantially, leading to a need to better characterize the seismicity to understand its ties to wastewater injection and fracking. Over the past several years the NMTSO has installed 6 additional stations in the region, in addition to collaborating with TexNet to install 3 new stations and with the USGS to install 14 stations. These additional stations along with improved processing methods will allow more accurate characterization of induced seismicity in southeastern New Mexico going forward. In addition to these efforts, we have investigated the extensive data catalog of events using template matching to detect additional seismic events. We further relocated all events using a recently developed 3-D velocity model of the greater Permian Basin. This model allows us to better constrain the hypocentral locations of the events than using a 1-D model. Preliminary results show that seismicity was distributed in several spatially isolated clusters. Some of them are located around previously mapped fault traces, suggesting that these faults have become seismically active. These results will significantly improve our historic earthquake catalog and allow us to conduct further analyses to better understand the earthquake hazard in this region.

Information on Connecting

We are going to simultaneously facilitate this discussion on Zoom and YouTube.  Even if you don’t have a Zoom account you should be able to join with the below link for Zoom.

To assist with quality of recording, audio will be muted for all attendees.  We encourage use of the chat feature to ask questions as they arise during the presentation.  We look forward to your attendance.  Be sure to save the attached calendar invite to your schedule so you don’t miss it!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 962 0701 9558
Passcode: 681285

Watch on YouTube

RISC WEBINAR: October 21, 2021
"Panel Discussion of Induced Seismicity"

Paul O. Ogwari, Ph.D.  - Moderator
Geophysicist - Oklahoma Geological Survey - University of Oklahoma

Informal panel discussion, focusing on:

  • The state of seismicity within your respective region 
  • The current and anticipated future challenges in monitoring earthquakes
  • The preparations being made to meet these challenges 

We are fortunate to include the below panelists:

Emily Wolin, Ph.D.
Seismic Network Manager, USGS Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory

Jake Walter, Ph.D.
Geophysicist and State Seismologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey, The University of Oklahoma

Mitch Withers, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor, Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), The University of Memphis

Alexandros Savvaidis, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

RISC WEBINAR: August 26, 2021, 2pm Central / 3pm Eastern / Noon Pacific / 1pm Mountain
"Patterns of Induced Seismicity and Changing Injection Operations at the Paradox Valley Unit, Colorado"

Lisa Block, Sc. D.
Geophysicist, Bureau of Reclamation

Abstract: The Paradox Valley Unit (PVU) in western Colorado intercepts naturally occurring brine that would otherwise enter the Dolores River and degrade the water quality of the Colorado River system. Following a series of injection tests conducted between 1991 and 1995, long-term disposal of brine into a single deep injection well began in mid-1996. Seismic monitoring has been an integral component of PVU since 1985 when the Paradox Valley Seismic Network (PVSN) became continuously operational. Since injection began in 1991, more than 10,000 induced earthquakes have been recorded. This seismicity has progressively expanded away from the injection well, and induced earthquakes are now occurring more than 25 km from the well. Several changes in injection operations intended to mitigate the induced seismicity have resulted in decreased seismicity rates within several km of the well. However, widely felt induced earthquakes have continued to occur once every few years, and the magnitudes of these large events have increased over time. The lack of an increase in rates and magnitudes of observed seismicity prior to the occurrence of the large events and the long response time of the seismicity to injection make it difficult to prevent the occurrence of these few but concerning widely felt induced earthquakes. Following an MW 4.5 induced earthquake in March 2019, PVU brine disposal was suspended pending completion of a seismic risk analysis.

RISC WEBINAR: June 24, 2021
"Panel Discussion on Produced Water and Induced Seismicity"

Kyle E. Murray, Ph.D. - Moderator
Hydrogeologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey
The University of Oklahoma

Informal panel discussion, focusing on current trends and research in produced water management in the southern mid-continent of the U.S.  

We are fortunate to include the below panelists:

Steve Coffee
Vice President
Produced Water Society

Edward F. Peltier, Ph.D.
Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering
The University of Kansas

Bridget Scanlon, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin

RISC WEBINAR: April 13, 2021
"Panel Discussion of Induced Seismicity"

Rex Buchanan - Moderator
Director Emeritus, Kansas Geological Survey

Informal panel discussion, focusing on each state’s regulatory response to induced seismicity. We are fortunate to include the below panelists:

Sean Avitt, P.G., Manager
Injection-Storage Permits Unit, Oil and Gas Division Railroad Commission of Texas

Ryan A. Hoffman
Director, Conservation Division Kansas Corporation Commission

Colin Brooks, Regulatory Manager
Oil and Gas Conservation Division, Induced Seismicity Department Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Phillip Goetze, UIC Manager Geologist/Hydrologist
State of New Mexico Oil Conservation Division

RISC WEBINAR: February 4, 2021
"An Example of a Collaborative Effort Between Government, Industry, and Academia to Address Injection-Induced Seismicity"

Ivan Wong
Senior Principal Seismologist, Lettis Consultants International

Webinar Deck

RISC WEBINAR: December 3, 2020
"Ground Motion Duration from Unique Earthquakes in Oklahoma"

Paul Ogwari, Ph.D.
Geophysicist, Oklahoma Geological Survey, University of Oklahoma

Webinar Deck

Abstract: The number of induced earthquakes associated with wastewater disposal in Oklahoma have reduced year after year for the last four years. However, the number of earthquakes associated with hydraulic fracturing activities in the state increased concurrently with the decrease in wastewater-disposal linked events. During that period, we have observed an increase in pairs of earthquakes that occur closely both in space and time, and multi-phased events. We utilize analyst observations along with waveform correlation and clustering to identify the phases and classify earthquakes into different groups. I will discuss varying ground motion duration from different earthquake groups and how that relates to the felt intensity and the seismic hazard. 

RISC WEBINAR: October 6, 2020
"Managing the Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing Induced Seismicity"

Ryan Schultz, MSc
Seismologist, Stanford University, Department of Geophysics

Webinar Deck

Abstract: Initially, hydraulic fracturing (HF) was an underappreciated source of induced earthquakes. Today, there are numerous cases reported worldwide: in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China – with some events as large as 5.7 ML or up to 1.5 km away from the causal well. In this talk, I review the state of knowledge of this category of induced seismicity and the common themes observed in cases such as recurrent earthquake swarms, proximity to well bore, rapid response to stimulation, and a paucity of reported cases. Unanswered questions naturally arise from these commonalities, leading to potential research themes: proposed triggering mechanisms, geologically susceptible conditions, identification of operational controls, effective mitigation efforts, and science-informed regulatory management. In particular, I focus in on recent efforts regarding effective management that define thresholds in traffic light protocols in a risk-informed manner. These risk-informed thresholds are derived from probabilistic maximum magnitudes, formation depth, site amplification, ground motion relationships, felt/damaging tolerances, and population information that is used to simulate the nuisance and damage impacts of ground shaking. Risk curves for various forecast scenarios highlight two proposed guidelines. First, setting red-light thresholds based on tolerances for risk reduces the chances that run-away earthquakes could cause unacceptable damage. Second, setting yellow-light thresholds approximately two magnitude units less than the red-light ensures that operators have a sufficient opportunity to enact their mitigation strategies. These guidelines for traffic light protocols are risk-informed and incorporate state of the art knowledge on HF induced seismicity. Overall, HF-induced seismicity provides a unique opportunity to better understand and manage earthquake rupture processes.

RISC WEBINAR: August 4, 2020
"Induced Seismicity at the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project: Lessons for moving monitoring from Site-Scale to Large Scale CCS"

Sherilyn Williams-Stroud, PhD, PG
Research Scientist, Illinois State Geological Survey

Webinar Deck

Abstract: The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP) and the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (IL-ICCS) project have injected 2.8 million tonnes of CO₂ into a 500 thick saline sandstone reservoir at a depth of 2140 m as of June 2020. Lessons learned include how to be more efficient with the Monitoring, Verification, and Accounting (MVA) program. However, caution is advised when considering applying the site results to large-scale operations without detailed analysis of pre-injection fault characterization and reservoir quality analysis for potential expansion. The significantly different reservoir response of two injection wells less than 1700 m apart illustrates how important is it is to understand reservoir variability on a relatively small scale. Induced microseismicity was detected at the site (Mw<1.2), which was used to enhance the fault characterization from reflection seismic imaging. By integrating the seismic data and fault size analysis with logs and rock properties at the site, a geological model that explains the reservoir response at the site was developed. Potential earthquake size from CO₂ injection was estimated to be Mw≤2.7 within 100 km or the site by combining an analysis of historical earthquake data from central Illinois with other geologic information in the area. This approach may provide insights as to whether large induced events are likely or not when considering the transition from site-scale projects to large-scale commercial CO₂ sequestration operations.

RISC WEBINAR: June 18, 2020
"Summary and Lessons from the North Texas Earthquake Study, 2013-2020"

Heather R. DeShon, PhD
Professor, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences
Southern Methodist University

Webinar Deck

Abstract: From 2013 to present, the local seismic research networks operated by SMU as part of the North Texas Earthquake Study (NTXES) provide basic earthquake data needed to assess seismic hazard and to address the cause of the increased seismicity rates in the Fort Worth Basin (FWB) and Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, an area that was aseismic until 2008. I will summarize the configuration, operation, and capability of the SMU FWB networks and documents how network geometries evolved in response to the onset of new earthquake sequences. Network design strategies focused on providing accurate hypocenter and focal mechanism information, while still constrained by the realities of dense urban environment operations. The networks include short-period single- and three-component sensors, broadband to intermediate period velocity sensors, and accelerometers. The rich datasets contain local and regional earthquakes, anthropogenic and ambient noise, quarry blasts, and weather events. Earthquake research documents a causal link between earthquakes in the FWB and wastewater disposal and/or production activities associated with shale gas extraction, and the NTXES provides significant breakthroughs in understanding the physical mechanisms leading to induced earthquakes.

RISC WEBINAR: April 22, 2020
"Communicating Earthquake Hazards: Lessons from Earthquake Alerting"

Elizabeth S. Cochran, PhD, U.S. Geological Survey

Webinar slide set (PDF)

Abstract: Effective communication of earthquake hazards requires that we appropriately combine technical knowledge with the likely societal responses to that information. Earthquake early alerts provide a timely case study highlighting the value of both seismology and social science in the design of effective hazard communication. The U.S. Geological Survey recently began issuing earthquake alerts to the state of California with the goal of alerting populations for incoming shaking that may result in injuries, damages to infrastructure, or emotional distress. Ideally, the alerts are used to initiate actions that would reduce the impacts from the shaking. Recent studies of the technical capabilities of earthquake early warning systems suggest that warnings are most useful to those that have a low cost of taking action, relative to the damage that could be averting. And, for those users, it is best to take action at somewhat lower levels of shaking than those for which damage is expected. However, experiences from a long-running warning system in Mexico City show alerts can have negative outcomes, including injuries and even fatalities, and argues against unnecessary alerting. While it may be difficult to define the ideal alert threshold for all users, the decision to send an alert should consider the societal readiness, impacts, and technical capabilities of the EEW system.

RISC WEBINAR: February 13, 2020                  
"Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment for Induced Seismicity"

Ellen M. Rathje, PhD, Janet S. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
and Senior Research Scientist - Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

Webinar slide set (PDF)

Abstract: With the increasing rate of induced earthquakes, it is important to assess the potential impacts of earthquakes on the infrastructure and people in the affected areas.   Approaches to quantify the expected levels of earthquake shaking (i.e., seismic hazard) and the expected levels of damage (i.e., seismic risk) are available and have been used for decades to evaluate the impacts of natural earthquakes.  However, these approaches need to be adapted to assessments for induced earthquakes.  This presentation will provide an overview of the approaches used to quantify seismic hazard and risk, and how they are being adapted for use with induced earthquakes. 

RISC WEBINAR: December 3, 2019

"Summary of Induced Seismicity in Alberta, History of Incidences and Regulatory Responses"

Todd Shipman, PhD – Senior Advisor, Induced Seismicity and Geohazards, Alberta Geological Survey, Alberta Energy Regulator

Webinar slide set (PDF)

Abstract: Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)/Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) have been addressing induced seismicity since December 2013, with incidents that occurred in the Fox Creek region of Alberta, Canada.  Since 2010 AGS has been developing a robust seismic monitoring network and publishing a normalized catalogue of earthquakes in Alberta. The catalogue starts in 2006, before hydraulic fracturing began in Alberta in 2010, giving a modest buffer of baseline seismic activity for the province.  AGS seismic catalogue, as well as other available catalogues, uses this information to identify anomalous seismic events that require further scrutiny. AGS analyses the association of oil and gas operations (geographic and temporal) with respect to anomalous seismic activity in order to determine if it is induced.

AGS has subsequently developed a research program to understand the hazard and likelihood of induced seismicity in Alberta. Once induced seismicity is identified, AGS begins looking into available subsurface information to look at correlation to subsurface characteristics and detailed analysis of the seismic catalogue. Research has identified several factors of susceptibility for induced seismicity in Alberta; basement root faults, proximity of operations to basement, and operations located near the edge of Devonian reefs. These factors as well as others are attributed to conditions of susceptibility and have been applied to a machine learning model to map out induced seismicity in a particular play within Alberta. Models are helpful in understanding geospatial relationships and aiding in avoidance strategies in order to prevent induced seismicity.

Alberta has developed two regulatory responses for area-based regulation to manage induced seismicity; Subsurface Order No. 2 and No. 6. Subsurface Order No. 2 was the first regulatory response in Alberta to multi-staged hydraulic fracturing (MSHF) induced seismicity. This established monitoring requirements for operators (feedback mechanism), response plan, pre-frack hazard assessment, and traffic light protocol.  Subsurface Order No. 6 was developed over concern for the possibility of MSHF induced seismicity near areas of concern. There were established setbacks from the areas of concern in order to avoid damage. Alberta is currently managing induced seismicity through regulatory instruments that are targeted at specific areas of concern with traffic light systems that address site specific threshold for seismic loading.

RISC WEBINAR: October 10, 2019

"The Past and Future Seismic Hazard in Oklahoma"

Jacob Walter, PhD, State Seismologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey

Webinar slide set (PDF)

Abstract: Oklahoma, over the last decade, experienced a year in 2015 where there were ~900 M3.0+ earthquakes against a prior tectonic background rate of just 2-3 M3.0+ earthquakes per year. During that surge in small earthquakes, 4 of the 5 largest earthquakes occurred, all greater than or equal to M5.0. These earthquakes, widely agreed upon to be induced by wastewater injection, caused moderate but not widespread damage to the rural communities in which they occurred.  I will discuss how the induced seismicity story unfolded in Oklahoma and outlook on the future. Finally, I will discuss a hopeful roadmap to the future where scientists, industry, and regulators can work quickly to identify induced seismicity and mitigate damage to lives and property.

RISC Webinar – August 29, 2019

“Earthquake Hazard Characterization of the Fort Worth Basin”

Dr. Peter H. Hennings, Bureau of Economic Geology

Webinar slide set (PDF) 

Abstract: The CISR Principal Investigator will review TexNet-CISR research on characterizing the hazard of induced earthquakes in the Fort Worth Basin of north-central Texas, highlighting the earthquake history, fault and stress mapping, fault slip potential analysis, and hydrogeologic modeling.  


RISC WEBINAR: June 18, 2019

"Understanding the relationship between fluid injection and seismicity in New Mexico"

Mairi Litherland, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources

Webinar slide set (PDF)

Abstract: New Mexico has a long history of tectonic earthquakes, but seismic activity has recently increased in regions where fluid injection is occurring, and where tectonic earthquakes were not previously common. The Raton Basin, which crosses the New Mexico-Colorado border, and the Permian Basin, which span the New Mexico-Texas border, have seen a dramatic increase in earthquakes since 2001, following an increase in the rate of wastewater injection. In this talk, we will discuss the background and history of operations of these basin and studies that are underway or planned as part of the RISC project.


Stay Informed:  If you would like to be kept informed of this web series and general RISC information, please join the RISC Mailing List.

RISC WEBINAR: April 18, 2019

"History and Response to Induced Seismicity in Arkansas With Examples of Previous Case Studies...
What We Have Learned?"

Scott Ausbrooks, Arkansas Geological Survey

Webinar slide set (PDF)

Background: RISC was created to connect seismicity research groups at different state geological surveys, avoiding data gaps and overlaps and improving communication of ideas and technical approaches. RISC will improve sharing data and ideas across the geological surveys and other agencies of states located in the southern midcontinent of the United States, and will facilitate and add value to ongoing research. The US DOE provides financial support for RISC.

Abstract: North-central Arkansas has seen a significant increase since 2009 in both unconventional resource development and seismicity in the Fayetteville Shale Play area. Though this area is historically seismically active (Enola earthquake swarm of 1982), the recent increase in seismic activity is likely explained by both natural processes and human-activity. In this presentation, we will discuss and compare three published case studies, including the Guy-Greenbrier earthquake swarm of 2010-2012, a second swarm occurring from 2009-2010 near Greenbrier, Arkansas and the potential relationship between injection/disposal wells and earthquake activity around 1990. We will also discuss regulatory actions that occurred because of the research conducted on these swarms. Finally, we will compare these three cases with an unpublished case involving one of the first proposed SWDs in the Fayetteville Play. 

Regional Induced Seismicity Collaborative All-Hands Workshop January 15-16, 2019

Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

Regional Induced Seismicity Collaborative All-Hands Workshop - all talks combined in a single PDF file

Individual Talks

00   Regional Induced Seismicity Collaborative All-Hands Workshop - Agenda and Minutes
01   Introduction: Agenda and History of RISC - Michael Young 
02   Earthquake Monitoring in the Central and Southeast U.S. - Mitch Withers
03   Seismic Monitoring in New Mexico: Past, Present, and Future - Mairi Litherland
04   Oklahoma Geological Survey Regional Network: Adapting a regional network for overlapping stakeholder objectives - Jake Walter
05   Status of the Texas Seismological Network after two years of operations - Alexandros Savvaidis
06   Oklahoma: Subsurface Monitoring and Characterization - Kyle Murray
07   Subsurface Monitoring and Characterization - Peter Hennings
08   Injection of Hydraulic Fracturing Flowback Fluid Triggers Guy-Greenbrier Earthquake Swarm in Central Arkansas - Martha Kopper

RISC WEBINAR: December 4, 2018

"Regional trends in Kansas seismicity, formation pressure, and fluid levels"

Shelby Peterie, Kansas Geological Survey

Download Presentation (PDF)

Webinar Information (PDF)

Background: RISC was created to connect seismicity research groups at different state geological surveys, avoiding data gaps and overlaps and improving communication of ideas and technical approaches. RISC will improve sharing data and ideas across the geological surveys and other agencies of states located in the southern midcontinent of the United States, and will facilitate and add value to ongoing research. The US DOE provides financial support for RISC.

Abstract: A dramatic increase in earthquakes in southern Kansas is largely believed to be the result of pore pressure increases from unprecedented volumes of fluid injected by saltwater disposal wells near the Kansas–Oklahoma border.  Earthquakes occurred in dense swarms near the likely causal injection wells in south-central Kansas beginning in 2013.  In subsequent years, epicenters migrated into adjacent areas where minimal fluid injection was being reported.  By 2017, epicenters advanced into neighboring counties as far as 90 km from the initial swarm locations.  Formation pressures measured in wells that terminate within the injection interval (the Arbuckle Group) reveal a pattern of regionally-elevated fluid pressure that correlates with the temporal progression of seismicity.  Pressure trends in south central Kansas suggest that fluid migration and pressure diffusion from cumulative disposal to the south likely induced earthquakes much farther than previously documented for individual injection wells.  Along with elevated formation pressures, static fluid levels are also rising in south-central Kansas.  In some areas where the elevation of the land surface is locally reduced (such as river valleys), the hydrostatic surface of the Arbuckle Group is beginning to approach the land surface and may impact the ability of wells in these areas to inject using gravity feed alone. 

Who Should Attend: Everybody is welcome, from university, government and research institutions, to the regulatory community and the general public.

Information on connecting: Webinar connection information will be forthcoming. If you would like to be kept informed of this web series and general RISC information, please join the RISC Mailing List.

RISC WEBINAR: October 11, 2018

"Subsurface Pressure in Seismogenic Areas"

Kyle Murray, Ph.D., Oklahoma Geological Survey

Download presentation

Webinar Information (PDF)

Background: RISC was created to connect seismicity research groups at different state geological surveys, avoiding data gaps and overlaps and improving communication of ideas and technical approaches. RISC will improve sharing data and ideas across the geological surveys and other agencies of states located in the southern midcontinent of the United States, and will facilitate and add value to ongoing research. The US DOE provides financial support for RISC.

Abstract: Numerous scientific studies in north/north-central Oklahoma and south-central Kansas have correlated saltwater disposal (SWD) rates into the basal sedimentary zone (Arbuckle Group) to seismicity occurring in basement rock. Because of limited understanding of subsurface pressure in the Arbuckle or basement rock, we have deployed a modest network of instruments for “Monitoring and Analysis of Arbuckle Group Pressures.” Long-term goals of this study include supplementing scientific models of seismogenesis and developing reliable decision-support tools for mitigating seismicity that may be related to SWD or injection. This Webinar will provide an overview of the project including network setup, general trends, findings, challenges, and limitations.

RISC WEBINAR: July 9, 2018

"Seismicity Research Activities by State Geological Surveys, Southern Mid-Content of the US"
This is the first of a series of RISC webinars that focus on the scientific approaches and outcomes addressing induced seismicity. The first webinar is a summary of each state's research activities and opportunities for collaboration inside the state surveys and across the scientific spectrum.

You can download the webinar by clicking here and the slides here.

University of Texas at Austin

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