Posted May 22, 2018 09:01:16Using Rockscience’s API to find chemical-based earthquakes is a powerful tool that can help seismologists track their work, researchers from the University of New Brunswick and the University in Alberta have found.
In an article published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, the researchers said the Rockscientic API, which enables geologists to search data sets, can be used to determine the source of a large number of chemical-induced earthquakes.
“It is very important that seismic activity is recorded accurately and that it is recorded in a reliable way,” said Dr. Richard P. Brown, a geophysicist with the University at Buffalo.
“The Rockscience API allows us to search for these natural events, to find faults that have a lot of chemical constituents in them.”
A recent study showed that many of the chemical-related earthquakes that have been recorded are associated with hydraulic fracturing, the process that involves injecting large amounts of water, sand, and chemicals into shale rock to release natural gas.
Brown said that finding, combined with the new Rockscientics API, should help seismology professionals better understand the chemicals in earthquakes and provide more accurate data on the risks of hydraulic fracturing.
“One of the things we found is that the earthquakes that are associated [with hydraulic fracturing] are mostly occurring along fault lines,” he said.
“They are mostly fault lines in the region where they occur.
So you might be looking at a fault where there is a small earthquake and a big earthquake.”
Preliminary analysis of seismic data shows that the largest earthquake events associated with fracking occurred in Oklahoma in the summer of 2016 and in the eastern United States in the spring of 2017.
The study also shows that earthquakes in Oklahoma are also associated with the wastewater injection process that occurs in the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota, the research found.
Brown explained that these types of events are more common in the area around oil and gas fields.
“So it’s an area where it’s probably more likely that there is oil and natural gas there,” he added.
Brown noted that the data shows a link between fracking and seismic activity.
“The earthquakes that we’re looking at are very strong and very significant and you’re looking for a lot more information than you would normally expect in the data,” he explained.
“But the fact that we are seeing these earthquakes that might have nothing to do with fracking is really good news.”
Brown said he and his team used Rockscience to find the earthquakes associated with fluid injection at a gas drilling site in southeastern Pennsylvania in the first quarter of 2018.
The data showed that, for example, there were several small earthquakes that occurred between September 25 and October 2, the date that oil and petroleum companies started fracking.
In the second quarter of the year, the earthquakes were again small and smaller, but in March the earthquakes increased in magnitude.
The data also shows a significant correlation between earthquakes at the same site in the same region, which Brown said is a key area for seismic activity in the shale formations.
“If you drill at a site that is producing a lot [of natural gas] and it’s not a well well, that is a good area to see if you can see those earthquakes,” he pointed out.
“If you’re not producing much natural gas, you’re probably not seeing these small earthquakes.”
Brown and his colleagues also analyzed data from a seismic observatory located in North Carolina.
They found that during the first two months of the fracking boom, there was a large uptick in earthquakes in the state, with more than a million recorded in the two months after the boom began.
They then compared the data from the observatory to the seismic data collected by the University.
The seismicity of the wells at the observatories increased during the boom, as did the number of earthquakes recorded at the observation site.
“We’ve been following this seismicity for years, and it was just beginning to become a significant problem,” Brown said.
Brown said the seismic observatories are a good place to look for earthquakes associated a variety of chemicals.
“You can’t just go and find these earthquakes and not know that there are chemicals involved,” he continued.
The data can be accessed by using Rockscience in the app on iPhones and Android phones, as well as from the Rocksciences website.”
So you can use Rockscience data to track where the chemicals are coming from.”
The data can be accessed by using Rockscience in the app on iPhones and Android phones, as well as from the Rocksciences website.