Induced & triggered seismicity
Since about 2009, the rate of earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. has dramatically increased, mostly due to wastewater injection in Oklahoma, but also due to various causes in Texas and other states. I am working with Mark D. Zoback to compile data and develop tools to mitigate the induced seismic hazard in Texas, New Mexico, and the surrounding region. To this end, we recently published two papers, which together compile about 300 new principal stress magnitudes together with information about the faulting regime across Texas, New Mexico, and surrounding areas.
Principal stress orientations and magnitudes are fundamental for understanding the causes of past earthquakes and for identifying faults of concern for future seismicity. Our first paper, published in 2016 in Geophysical Research Letters, presents the results of the Stress Map of Texas and examines recent, potentially triggered earthquakes in the context of the mapped stress field. In February 2018, we published a new paper in The Leading Edge on the state of stress in the Permian Basin region of West Texas and southeast New Mexico. The Permian Basin is the most important oil-producing region in the United States, and it collectively represents one of the world’s largest oilfields. Our paper presents 100 new stress orientations, a refined map of the relative principal stresses (faulting regime), and a demonstration of the free FSP software to estimate the slip potential on mapped faults.