Assessing Earthquake Risks From Hydraulic Fracturing for Geothermal Power, Natural Gas and CO2 Storage

Mark McClure, PhD in Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University; Assistant Professor (winter 2013), University of Texas

Monday, November 5, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Scientists have been aware of human induced seismicity for decades. But attention to the issue has increased in recent years, as concerns have been raised for wastewater disposal, hydraulic fracturing, and CO2 sequestration. The importance of credible induced seismicity hazard assessment has never been higher.

In this talk, Mark McClure will summarize the fundamental physical processes of induced seismicity, provide an overview of the history of the field, and review some of the dominant ideas in induced seismicity hazard analysis. Then he will summarize two papers he recently wrote on the topic of induced seismicity during hydraulic stimulation in geothermal energy. The first demonstrates how a single variable, the degree of brittle fault development, can explain the huge variation in induced seismicity across a range of historical enhanced geothermal projects. The second uses coupled fluid flow and seismicity modeling to explain a variety of observations of induced seismicity from enhanced geothermal projects and demonstrates how modeling could be used for hazard analysis or even optimization. Last, Mark will explain the broader implications of his work for induced seismicity hazard analysis.

Brief Bio:

Mark McClure is completing his PhD in Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University this fall and in January will be starting as an assistant professor in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. Mark's work involves modeling and characterization of hydraulic stimulation in complex settings such as geothermal energy and gas shale. He has focused on topics such as induced seismicity, hydraulic stimulation design, mechanisms of hydraulic fracturing, and development of numerical modeling techniques. Mark has been honored with several awards, including the Best Paper in Geophysics Award for 2011 and the Hank Ramey Award for Outstanding Research from the Stanford Energy Resources Engineering Department in 2012.

Recommended Readings:

40 Case histories of induced and triggered seismicity

A survey of the induced seismicresponses to fluid injection in geothermal and CO2 reservoirs in Europe