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Self-induced seismicity due to fluid circulation along faults

Abstract : In this article, we develop a system of equations describing fluid migration, fault rheology, fault thickness evolution and shear rupture during a seismic cycle, triggered either by tectonic loading or by fluid injection. Assuming that the phenomena predominantly take place on a single fault described as a finite permeable zone of variable width, we are able to project the equations within the volumetric fault core onto the 2D fault interface. From the basis of this "fault lubrication approximation", we simulate the evolution of seismicity when fluid is injected at one point along the fault to model induced seismicity during an injection test in a borehole that intercepts the fault. We perform several parametric studies to understand the basic behaviour of the system. Fluid transmissivity and fault rheology are key elements. The simulated seismicity generally tends to rapidly evolve after triggering, independently of the injection history and end when the stationary path of fluid flow is established at the outer boundary of the model. This self-induced seismicity takes place in the case where shear rupturing on a planar fault becomes dominant over the fluid migration process. On the contrary, if healing processes take place, so that the fluid mass is trapped along the fault, rupturing occurs continuously during the injection period. Seismicity and fluid migration are strongly influenced by the injection rate and the heterogeneity.
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Hideo Aochi, Blanche Poisson, Renaud Toussaint, Xavier Rachez, Jean Schmittbuhl. Self-induced seismicity due to fluid circulation along faults. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2014, 196 (3), pp.1544-1563. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggt356⟩. ⟨hal-00923951⟩

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