Impact of Channel-like Erosion Patterns on the Frequency-Magnitude Distribution of Earthquakes
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Reactive flow at depth (either related to underground activities like enhancement of hydrocarbon recovery, CO2 storage or to natural flow like in hydrothermal zones) can alter fractures’ topography, which might in turn change their seismic responses. Depending on the flow and reaction rates, instability of the dissolution front can lead to a wormhole-like pronounced erosion pattern (Szymczak & Ladd, JGR, 2009). In a fractal structure of rupture process (Ide & Aochi, JGR, 2005), we question how the perturbation related to well-spaced long channels alters rupture propagation initiated on a weak plane and eventually the statistical feature of rupture appearance in Frequency-Magnitude Distribution FMD (Rohmer & Aochi, GJI, 2015). Contrary to intuition, a spatially uniform dissolution is not the most remarkable case, since it affects all the events proportionally to their sizes leading to a downwards translation of FMD: the slope of FMD (b-value) remains unchanged. An in-depth parametric study was carried out by considering different pattern characteristics: spacing S varying from 0 to 100 and length L from 50 to 800 and fixing the width w=1. The figure shows that there is a region of optimum channels’ characteristics for which the b-value of the Gutenberg Richter law is significantly modified with p-value ~10% (corresponding to area with red-coloured boundaries) given spacing to length ratio of the order of ~1/40: large magnitude events are more significantly affected leading to an imbalanced distribution in the magnitude bins of the FMD. The larger the spacing, the lower the channel’s influence. The decrease of the b-value between intact and altered fractures can reach values down to -0.08. Besides, a spatial analysis shows that the local seismicity anomaly concentrates in a limited zone around the channels: this opens perspective for detecting these eroded regions through high-resolution imaging surveys.