Induced Seismicity Monitoring System

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Steven R Taylor, Steve Jarpe and Philip Harben, GeoEnergy Monitoring Systems, Inc., Los Alamos, NM, United States
There are many seismological aspects associated with monitoring of permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic formations. Many of these include monitoring underground gas migration through detailed tomographic studies of rock properties, integrity of the cap rock and micro seismicity with time. These types of studies require expensive deployments of surface and borehole sensors in the vicinity of the CO2 injection wells. Another problem that may exist in CO2 sequestration fields is the potential for damaging induced seismicity associated with fluid injection into the geologic reservoir. Seismic hazard monitoring in CO2 sequestration fields requires a seismic network over a spatially larger region possibly having stations in remote settings. Expensive observatory-grade seismic systems are not necessary for seismic hazard deployments or small-scale tomographic studies. Hazard monitoring requires accurate location of induced seismicity to magnitude levels only slightly less than that which can be felt at the surface (e.g. magnitude 1), and the frequencies of interest for tomographic analysis are ~1 Hz and greater.

We have developed a seismo/acoustic smart sensor system that can achieve the goals necessary for induced seismicity monitoring in CO2 sequestration fields. The unit is inexpensive, lightweight, easy to deploy, can operate remotely under harsh conditions and features 9 channels of recording (currently 3C 4.5 Hz geophone, MEMS accelerometer and microphone). An on-board processor allows for satellite transmission of parameter data to a processing center. Continuous or event-detected data is kept on two removable flash SD cards of up to 64+ Gbytes each. If available, data can be transmitted via cell phone modem or picked up via site visits. Low-power consumption allows for autonomous operation using only a 10 watt solar panel and a gel-cell battery. The system has been successfully tested for long-term (> 6 months) remote operations over a wide range of environments including summer in Arizona to winter above 9000’ in the mountains of southern Colorado. Statistically based on-board processing is used for detection, arrival time picking, back azimuth estimation and magnitude estimates from coda waves and acoustic signals.