Research ArticleEARTH SCIENCES

Controlling fluid-induced seismicity during a 6.1-km-deep geothermal stimulation in Finland

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Science Advances  01 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaav7224
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7224


We show that near–real-time seismic monitoring of fluid injection allowed control of induced earthquakes during the stimulation of a 6.1-km-deep geothermal well near Helsinki, Finland. A total of 18,160 m3 of fresh water was pumped into crystalline rocks over 49 days in June to July 2018. Seismic monitoring was performed with a 24-station borehole seismometer network. Using near–real-time information on induced-earthquake rates, locations, magnitudes, and evolution of seismic and hydraulic energy, pumping was either stopped or varied—in the latter case, between well-head pressures of 60 and 90 MPa and flow rates of 400 and 800 liters/min. This procedure avoided the nucleation of a project-stopping magnitude MW 2.0 induced earthquake, a limit set by local authorities. Our results suggest a possible physics-based approach to controlling stimulation-induced seismicity in geothermal projects.

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