Temporal Correlation Between Seismic Moment and Injection Volume for an Induced Earthquake Sequence in Central Oklahoma


The rapidly increased earthquake rate in the central United States has been linked with wastewater injection. While the overall understanding appears clear at large scales, the interaction between injection and faulting at smaller scales within individual sequences is still not clear. For an earthquake sequence in central Oklahoma, we conduct finer-scale analysis of the spatiotemporal evolution of seismicity and pore pressure modeling. The pore pressure modeling suggests that nearby wells show much stronger correlation with earthquake sequence evolution. Detailed temporal analysis found correlation between earthquake rate, seismic moment, and injection rates from wells in close proximity. However, the observed maximum magnitude (Mmax) is about 1 order of magnitude smaller than expected based on a theoretical relationship between Mmax and cumulative volume. This discrepancy may point toward additional parameters, such as fault size and stress, which influence Mmax. The lower Mmax is consistent with the truncated Gutenberg-Richter distribution observed from matched filter detected catalog. Overall, the detailed observations suggest that it is possible to resolve relationships between individual disposal wells and induced earthquake sequences.

Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth