Dynamic Fault Interaction during a Fluid-Injection-Induced Earthquake: The 2017 M-W 5.5 Pohang Event

Kadek Hendrawan Palgunadi, Alice-Agnes Gabriel, Thomas Ulrich, Jose Angel Lopez-Comino, Paul Martin Mai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


AbstractUnderstanding the mechanisms and key parameters controlling depletion-induced seismicity is key for seismic hazard analyses and the design of mitigation measures. In this paper a methodology is presented to model in 2D the static stress development on faults offsetting depleting reservoir compartments, reactivation of the fault, nucleation of seismic instability, and the subsequent fully dynamic rupture including seismic fault rupture and near-field wave propagation. Slip-dependent reduction of the fault's strength (cohesion and friction) was used to model the development of the instability and seismic rupture. The inclusion of the dynamic calculation allows for a closer comparison to field observables such as borehole seismic data compared to traditional static geomechanical models. We applied this model procedure to a fault and stratigraphy typical for the Groningen field, and compared the results for an offset fault to a fault without offset. A non-zero offset on the fault strongly influenced the stress distribution along the fault due to stress concentrations in the near-fault area close to the top of the hanging wall and the base of the footwall. The heterogeneous stress distribution not only controlled where nucleation occurred within the reservoir interval, but also influenced the subsequent propagation of seismic rupture with low stresses inhibiting the propagation of slip. In a reservoir without offset the stress distribution was relatively uniform throughout the reservoir depth interval. Reactivation occurred at a much larger pressure decrease, but the subsequent seismic event was much larger due to the more uniform state of stress within the reservoir. In both cases the models predicted a unidirectional downward-propagating rupture, with the largest wave amplitudes being radiated downwards into the hanging wall. This study showed how a realistic seismic event could be successfully modelled, including the depletion-induced stressing, nucleation, dynamic propagation, and wave propagation. The influence of fault offset on the depletion-induced stress is significant; the heterogeneous stress development along offset faults not only strongly controls the timing and location of a seismic slip, but also influences the subsequent rupture size of the dynamic event.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2328-2349
Number of pages22
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-07-14


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic Fault Interaction during a Fluid-Injection-Induced Earthquake: The 2017 M-W 5.5 Pohang Event'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this