Laboratory simulations of fluid-induced seismicity, hydraulic fracture, and fluid flow

Philip Benson, David Carlo Austria, Stephan Gehne, Emily Jane Butcher, Claire E. Harnett, Marco Fazio, Peter Rowley, Ricardo Alexandre Pedreiras Tomás

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Fluid-induced seismicity has been observed and recorded for decades. Seismic energy necessarily requires a source, which is frequently related to rock fracture either in compression or tension. In both cases, such fracture may be promoted by crustal fluids. In this paper, we review some of the advances in the field of fluid-induced seismicity, with a particular focus on the use and application of new and innovative laboratory methods to better understand the complex, coupled, processes in shallow sub-surface energy extraction applications. We discuss the current state-of-the-art with specific reference to Thermal-Hydraulic-Coupling in volcanotectonic environments, which has a long history of fluid-driven seismic events linked to deep fluid movement. This ranges from local earthquakes to fluid-driven resonance, known as volcanic tremor. More recently so-called non-volcanic tremor has been identified in a range of scenarios where motion at an interface is primarily driven by fluids rather than significant stress release. Finally, we review rock fracture in the tensile regime which occurs naturally and in the engineered environment for developing fractures for the purpose of resource extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing in unconventional hydrocarbon industry or developing Hot-Dry-Rock geothermal reservoirs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100169
Number of pages16
JournalGeomechanics for Energy and the Environment
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • RCUK
  • NERC
  • NE/L009110/1


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