JGR–Solid Earth

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Wiley Online Library : Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
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Complex fault geometry and rupture dynamics of the Mw 6.5, 2016, October 30th central Italy earthquake

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 01:05

We study the October 30th 2016 Norcia earthquake (MW 6.5) to retrieve the rupture history by jointly inverting seismograms and coseismic GPS displacements obtained by dense local networks. The adopted fault geometry consists of a main normal fault striking N155°and dipping 47° belonging to the Mt. Vettore-Mt. Bove fault system (VBFS) and a secondary fault plane striking N210° and dipping 36° to the NW. The coseismic rupture initiated on the VBFS and propagated with similar rupture velocity on both fault planes. Up-dip from the nucleation point, two main slip patches have been imaged on these fault segments, both characterized by similar peak-slip values (~3 m) and rupture times (~3 s). After the breakage of the two main slip patches, coseismic rupture further propagated southeastward along the VBFS, rupturing again the same fault portion that slipped during the August 24th earthquake. The retrieved coseismic slip distribution is consistent with the observed surface breakages and the deformation pattern inferred from InSAR measurements.

Our results show that three different fault systems were activated during the October 30th earthquake. The composite rupture model inferred in this study provides evidences that also a deep portion of the NNE-trending section of the Olevano-Antrodoco-Sibillini (OAS) thrust broke co-seismically, implying the kinematic inversion of a thrust ramp. The obtained rupture history indicates that, in this sector of the Apennines, compressional structures inherited from past tectonics can alternatively segment boundaries of NW-trending active normal faults or break co-seismically during moderate-to-large magnitude earthquakes.

Dynamic fragmentation of jointed rock blocks during rockslide-avalanches: insights from discrete element analyses

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 13:46

The dynamic fragmentation of jointed rock blocks during rock rockslide-avalanches has been analyzed by discrete element method for a multiple rock block arrangement and simple slope geometry. The rock blocks are released along an inclined sliding plane and subsequently collide onto a flat horizontal plane at a sharp kink point. At impact, the contact force chains appear immediately at the bottom frontal corner of the rock block, and then propagate radially upwards to the top rear region. The jointed rock blocks show evident contact force concentration and discontinuity of force wave propagation near the joint, associating with high energy dissipation of granular dynamics. The corresponding force wave propagation velocity can be less than 200 m/s, which is much smaller than that of an intact rock (1316 m/s). The concentration of contact forces at the bottom leads to high rock fragmentation intensity and momentum boosts, facilitating the spreading of many fine fragments to the distal ends. However, the upper rock has very low rock fragmentation intensity but high energy dissipation due to intensive friction and damping effects, resulting in the deposition of large fragments near the slope toe. The size and shape of large fragments are closely related to the orientation and distribution of initial joints. The cumulative fragment size distribution (FSD) can be well fitted by the Weibull's distribution function, with very gentle and steep curvatures at the fine and coarse size ranges, respectively. The numerical results of FSD can match well some experimental and field observations.

The changeable power-law singularity and its application to prediction of catastrophic rupture in uniaxial compressive tests of geo-media

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 13:41

The acceleration precursor of catastrophic rupture in rock-like materials is usually characterized by a power-law relationship, but the exponent exhibits a considerable scatter in practice. In this paper, based on experiments of granites and marbles under quasi-static uniaxial and unconfined compression, it is shown that the power-law exponent varies between −1 and −1/2. Such a changeable power-law singularity can be justified by the energy criterion and a power function approximation. As the power-law exponent is close to the lowest value of −1, rocks are prone to a perfect catastrophic rupture. Furthermore, it is found that the fitted reduced power-law exponent decreases monotonically in the vicinity of a rupture point and converges to its lower limit. Therefore, the upper bound of catastrophic rupture time is constrained by the lowest value of the exponents and can be estimated in real-time. This implies that, with the increase of real-time sampling data, the predicted upper bound of catastrophic rupture time can be unceasingly improved.

Seismicity relocation and fault structure near the Leech River Fault Zone, southern Vancouver Island

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 08:05

Relatively low rates of seismicity and fault loading have made it challenging to correlate microseismicity to mapped surface faults on the forearc of southern Vancouver Island. Here we use precise relocations of microsciesmicity integrated with existing geologic data to present the first identification of subsurface seismogenic structures associated with the Leech River fault zone (LRFZ) on southern Vancouver Island. We used the HypoDD double difference relocation method to relocate 1253 earthquakes reported by the Canadian National Seismograph Network (CNSN) catalog from 1992 to 2015. Our results reveal an ~8-10 km wide, NNE-dipping zone of seismicity representing a subsurface structure along the eastern 30 km of the terrestrial LRFZ and extending 20 km farther eastward offshore, where the fault bifurcates beneath the Juan de Fuca Strait. Using a clustering analysis, we identify secondary structures within the NNE-dipping fault zone, many of which are sub-vertical and exhibit right-lateral strike-slip focal mechanisms. We suggest that the arrangement of these near-vertical dextral secondary structures within a more general NE-dipping fault zone, located 10-15 km beneath the Leech River fault (LRF) as imaged by LITHOPROBE, may be a consequence of the reactivation of this fault system as a right-lateral structure in crust with a pre-existing NNE-dipping structural fabric. Our results provide the first confirmation of active terrestrial crustal faults on Vancouver Island using a relocation method. We suggest that slowly slipping active crustal faults, especially in regions with pre-existing foliations, may result in microseismicity along fracture arrays rather than along single planar structures.

Crustal Structure of the Ionian Basin and Eastern Sicily Margin: Results From a Wide-Angle Seismic Survey

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 10:05

In the Ionian Sea (central Mediterranean) the slow convergence between Africa and Eurasia results in the formation of a narrow subduction zone. The nature of the crust of the subducting plate remains debated and could represent the last remnants of the Neo-Tethys ocean. The origin of the Ionian basin is also under discussion, especially concerning the rifting mechanisms as the Malta Escarpment could represent a remnant of this opening. This subduction retreats toward the south-east (motion occurring since the last 35 Ma) but is confined to the narrow Ionian basin. A major lateral slab tear fault is required to accommodate the slab roll-back. This fault is thought to propagate along the eastern Sicily margin but its precise location remains controversial. This study focuses on the deep crustal structure of the eastern Sicily margin and the Malta Escarpment. We present two two-dimensional P wave velocity models obtained from forward modeling of wide-angle seismic data acquired onboard the R/V Meteor during the DIONYSUS cruise in 2014. The results image an oceanic crust within the Ionian basin as well as the deep structure of the Malta Escarpment, which presents characteristics of a transform margin. A deep and asymmetrical sedimentary basin is imaged south of the Messina strait and seems to have opened between the Calabrian and Peloritan continental terranes. The interpretation of the velocity models suggests that the tear fault is located east of the Malta Escarpment, along the Alfeo fault system.

Crustal Metasomatism at the Slab-Mantle Interface in a Continental Subduction Channel: Geochemical Evidence From Orogenic Peridotite in the Sulu Orogen

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 10:02

To understand crust-mantle interactions in a continental subduction channel, we carried out a combined study of whole-rock elements and Sr-Nd isotopes, mineral elements, and whole-rock and mineral O isotopes in orogenic peridotite and its host gneiss from the Sulu orogen in China. The results indicate that the peridotite originated from highly depleted subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath the North China Craton and underwent three episodes of metasomatism via crustally derived fluids. The peridotite was offscraped from the subcontinental lithospheric mantle wedge base and experienced petrographic transformation from a spinel peridotite to a garnet peridotite during continental subduction from forearc to subarc depths. The peridotite underwent the first episode of metasomatism via aqueous solutions at high-pressure conditions. Afterward, the peridotite underwent a second episode of metasomatism by carbonate melts at ultrahigh-pressure conditions and a third episode of metasomatism by aqueous solutions at high-pressure conditions. While the aqueous solution was derived from the metamorphic dehydration of the subducting/exhuming continental crust at the forearc depths, the carbonate melts were produced by partial melting of the ultrahigh-pressure metasedimentary rocks in the exhuming continental crust at subarc depths. These metasomatic agents did not originate from the gneiss directly hosting the peridotite but from another part of the deeply subducted continental crust that was not in direct contact with the peridotite. Therefore, the orogenic peridotite recorded the geochemical transfer from the subducting crust into the mantle in the continental subduction zone.

Tsunami Scenarios Based on Interseismic Models Along the Nankai Trough, Japan, From Seafloor and Onshore Geodesy

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 10:01

The recent availability of Global Positioning System-Acoustic seafloor geodetic observations enables us to resolve the spatial distribution of the slip deficit rate near the Nankai trough, southwestern Japan. Considering a tectonic block model and the transient deformation due to the major earthquakes in this area, the slip deficit rate between the two relevant blocks can be estimated. In this study, we remove the time-dependent postseismic deformation of the 2004 southeastern off the Kii Peninsula earthquakes (MJMA 7.1, 7.4), which had led to the underestimation of the slip deficit rate in earlier studies. We model the postearthquake viscoelastic relaxation using the 3D finite element model with bi-viscous Burgers rheology, as well as the afterslip on the finite faults. The corrected Global Positioning System-Acoustic and land-based Global Navigation Satellite Systems data are aligned to the existing tectonic model and used to estimate the slip deficit rate on the plate boundary. We then calculate the coseismic displacements and tsunami wave propagation with the simple assumption that a hundred years of constant slip deficit accumulation was released instantaneously. To evaluate the influence of uncertainties in the plate interface geometry on a tsunami model for the Nankai trough, we investigated two different geometries and performed checkerboard inversion simulations. Although the two models indicate roughly similar results, the peak height of the tsunami wave and its arrival time at several points are significantly different in terms of the expected hazard.

Archie's Saturation Exponent for Natural Gas Hydrate in Coarse-Grained Reservoirs

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:56

Accurately quantifying the amount of naturally occurring gas hydrate in marine and permafrost environments is important for assessing its resource potential and understanding the role of gas hydrate in the global carbon cycle. Electrical resistivity well logs are often used to calculate gas hydrate saturations, Sh, using Archie's equation. Archie's equation, in turn, relies on an empirical saturation parameter, n. Though n = 1.9 has been measured for ice-bearing sands and is widely used within the hydrate community, it is highly questionable if this n value is appropriate for hydrate-bearing sands. In this work, we calibrate n for hydrate-bearing sands from the Canadian permafrost gas hydrate research well, Mallik 5L-38, by establishing an independent downhole Sh profile based on compressional-wave velocity log data. Using the independently determined Sh profile and colocated electrical resistivity and bulk density logs, Archie's saturation equation is solved for n, and uncertainty is tracked throughout the iterative process. In addition to the Mallik 5L-38 well, we also apply this method to two marine, coarse-grained reservoirs from the northern Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrate Joint Industry Project: Walker Ridge 313-H and Green Canyon 955-H. All locations yield similar results, each suggesting n ≈ 2.5 ± 0.5. Thus, for the coarse-grained hydrate bearing (Sh > 0.4) of greatest interest as potential energy resources, we suggest that n = 2.5 ± 0.5 should be applied in Archie's equation for either marine or permafrost gas hydrate settings if independent estimates of n are not available.

Remote Triggering in the Koyna-Warna Reservoir-Induced Seismic Zone, Western India

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:53

Dynamic triggering following large distant earthquakes has been observed in many regions globally. In this study, we present evidence for remote dynamic triggering in the Koyna-Warna region of Western India, which is known to be a premier site of reservoir-induced seismicity. Using data from a closely spaced broadband network of 11 stations operated in the region since 2005, we conduct a systematic search for dynamic triggering following 20 large distant earthquakes with dynamic stresses of at least 1 kPa in the region. We find that the only positive cases of dynamic triggering occurred during 11 April 2012, Mw8.6 Indian Ocean earthquake and its largest aftershock of Mw8.2. In the first case, microearthquakes started to occur in the first few cycles of the Love waves, and the largest event of magnitude 3.3 occurred during the first few cycles of the Rayleigh waves. The increase of microseismicity lasted for up to five days, including a magnitude 4.8 event occurred approximately three days later. Our results suggest that the Koyna-Warna region is stress sensitive and susceptible for remote dynamic triggering, although the apparent triggering threshold appears to be slightly higher than other regions.

Locations of Injection-Induced Earthquakes in Oklahoma Controlled by Crustal Structures

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:52

In recent years, many small- to moderate-size earthquakes occurred in central northern Oklahoma, likely associated with wastewater injection. The most recent one is the M5.8 Pawnee earthquake occurred on 3 September 2016. It is still not clear what controls the locations of these injection-induced earthquakes. Here we conduct 2-D Pg wave tomography with anisotropy to image seismogenic structures in this region, using more than 10 years of Pg arrivals recorded by 81 seismic stations. Our high-resolution Pg wave tomography shows two high-velocity zones with northwest fast direction alternated by low-velocity zones with northeast fast direction. The two dominant anisotropy directions are consistent with conjugated microfractures from surface faults and two nodal planes from focal mechanisms of moderate-size earthquakes. Most moderate-size (M > 4) earthquakes occurred either close to the boundaries between high- and low-seismic velocity zones or within the high-velocity zones, suggesting that they are associated with geological boundaries of different basement rock properties or with strong material properties in the upper crust. We suggest that although these moderate-size earthquakes were induced by fluid injection, their spatial locations were likely controlled by local geologic structures.

Curie Point Depth of the Iberian Peninsula and Surrounding Margins. A Thermal and Tectonic Perspective of its Evolution

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:48

In this work the thermal structure of the Iberian Peninsula is derived from magnetic data by calculating the bottom of the magnetization, assumed to be the Curie-point depth (CPD) isotherm, which accounts for the depth at which magnetite becomes paramagnetic (580°C). Comparison of the CPD with crustal thickness maps along with a heat flow map derived from the CPD provides new insights on the lithospheric thermal regime. Within Iberia, the CPD isotherm has thickness in the range of 17 to 29 km. This isotherm is shallow (<18 km) offshore, where the lithosphere is thinner. In continental Iberia, the NW Variscan domain presents a magnetic response that is most probably linked to thickening and later extension processes during the late Variscan Orogeny, which resulted in widespread crustal melting and emplacement of granites (in the Central Iberian Arc). The signature of the CPD at the Gibraltar Arc reveals a geometry consistent with the slab roll-back geodynamic model that shaped the western Mediterranean. In offshore areas, a broad extension of magnetized upper mantle is found. Serpentinization of the upper mantle, probably triggered in an extensional context, is proposed to account for the magnetic signal. The Atlantic margin presents up to 8 km of serpentinites, which, according to the identification of exhumed mantle, correlates with a hyperextended margin. The Mediterranean also presents generalized serpentinization up to 6 km in the Algerian Basin. Furthermore, a heat flow map and a Moho temperature map derived from the CPD are presented.

The Origin and Mantle Dynamics of Quaternary Intraplate Volcanism in Northeast China From Joint Inversion of Surface Wave and Body Wave

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:46

We present a 3-D model of NE China by joint inversion of body and surface waves. The joint inversion significantly improves the resolution at shallow depths compared with body wave tomography alone and provides seismic evidence for the origin of Quaternary volcanism in NE China. Our model reveals that the mantle upwelling beneath the Changbaishan volcano originates from the transition zone and extends up to ~60 km, and spreads at the base of the lithosphere with the upwelling head ~5 times wider than the raising tail in the lower upper mantle. However, low velocities beneath the Halaha and Abaga volcanoes in the Xingmeng belt are confined to depths shallower than 150 km, suggesting that magmatism in the Xingmeng belt is more likely caused by localized asthenospheric upwelling at shallow depths rather than from the common deep source. A small-scale sublithospheric mantle convection may control the spatial and temporal distribution of Quaternary magmatism in NE China; that is, the upwelling beneath the Changbaishan volcano triggers the downwelling beneath the southern Songliao basin, where the high velocity imaged extends to ~300 km. The downwelling may further induce localized upwelling in the surrounding areas, such as the Halaha and Abaga volcanoes. Thanks to the joint constraints from both surface and body waves, we can estimate the dimension of the convection cell. The convection cell is located between 42°N and 45°N, spreads around ~500 km in the W-E direction measured from the distance between centers of downwelling and upwelling, and extends to ~300 km vertically.

Growth of Fault-Cored Anticlines by Flexural Slip Folding: Analysis by Boundary Element Modeling

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:41

Fault-related folds develop due to a combination of slip on the associated fault and distributed deformation off the fault. Under conditions that are sufficient for sedimentary layering to act as a stack of mechanical layers with contact slip, buckling can dramatically amplify the folding process. We develop boundary element models of fault-related folding of viscoelastic layers embedded with a reverse fault to examine the influence of such layering on fold growth. The strength of bedding contacts, the thickness and stiffness of layering, and fault geometry all contribute significantly to the resulting fold form. Frictional contact strength between layers controls the degree of localization of slip within fold limbs; high contact friction in relatively thin bedding tends to localize bedding slip within narrow kink bands on fold limbs, and low contact friction tends to produce widespread bedding slip and concentric fold form. Straight ramp faults tend to produce symmetric folds, whereas listric faults tend to produce asymmetric folds with short forelimbs and longer backlimbs. Fault-related buckle folds grow exponentially with time under steady loading rates. At early stages of folding, fold growth is largely attributed to slip on the fault, but as the fold increases amplitude, a larger portion of the fold growth is attributed to distributed slip across bedding contacts on the limbs of the fold. An important implication for geologic and earthquake studies is that not all surface deformation associated with blind reverse faults may be attributed to slip on the fault during earthquakes.

CT Identification and Fractal Characterization of 3-D Propagation and Distribution of Hydrofracturing Cracks in Low-Permeability Heterogeneous Rocks

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:36

Understanding and characterization of the three-dimensional (3-D) propagation and distribution of hydrofracturing cracks in heterogeneous rock are key for enhancing the stimulation of low-permeability petroleum reservoirs. In this study, we investigated the propagation and distribution characteristics of hydrofracturing cracks, by conducting true triaxial hydrofracturing tests and computed tomography on artificial heterogeneous rock specimens. Silica sand, Portland cement, and aedelforsite were mixed to create artificial heterogeneous rock specimens using the data of mineral compositions, coarse gravel distribution, and mechanical properties that were measured from the natural heterogeneous glutenite cores. To probe the effects of material heterogeneity on hydrofracturing cracks, the artificial homogenous specimens were created using the identical matrix compositions of the heterogeneous rock specimens and then fractured for comparison. The effects of horizontal geostress ratio on the 3-D growth and distribution of cracks during hydrofracturing were examined. A fractal-based method was proposed to characterize the complexity of fractures and the efficiency of hydrofracturing stimulation of heterogeneous media. The material heterogeneity and horizontal geostress ratio were found to significantly influence the 3-D morphology, growth, and distribution of hydrofracturing cracks. A horizontal geostress ratio of 1.7 appears to be the upper limit for the occurrence of multiple cracks, and higher ratios cause a single crack perpendicular to the minimum horizontal geostress component. The fracturing efficiency is associated with not only the fractured volume but also the complexity of the crack network.

Temporal correlation between seismic moment and injection volume for an induced earthquake sequence in central Oklahoma

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:30

The rapidly increased earthquake rate in the central United States has been linked with wastewater injection. While the overall understanding appears clear at large scales, the interaction between injection and faulting at smaller scales within individual sequences is still not clear. For an earthquake sequence in central Oklahoma, we conduct finer scale analysis of the spatiotemporal evolution of seismicity, and pore pressure modeling. The pore pressure modeling suggests that nearby wells show much stronger correlation with earthquake sequence evolution. Detailed temporal analysis found correlation between earthquake rate, seismic moment and injection rates from wells in close proximity. However, the observed maximum magnitude (Mmax) is about one order of magnitude smaller than expected based on a theoretical relationship between Mmax and cumulative volume. This discrepancy may point toward additional parameters, such as fault size and stress, which influence Mmax. The lower Mmax is consistent with the truncated Gutenberg-Richter distribution observed from matched-filter detected catalog. Overall, the detailed observations suggest that it is possible to resolve relationships between individual disposal wells and induced earthquake sequences.

Transpressional Rupture Cascade of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake, New Zealand

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:26

Large earthquakes often do not occur on a simple planar fault but involve rupture of multiple geometrically complex faults. The 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, New Zealand, involved the rupture of at least 21 faults, propagating from southwest to northeast for about 180 km. Here we combine space geodesy and seismology techniques to study subsurface fault geometry, slip distribution, and the kinematics of the rupture. Our finite-fault slip model indicates that the fault motion changes from predominantly right-lateral slip near the epicenter to transpressional slip in the northeast with a maximum coseismic surface displacement of about 10 m near the intersection between the Kekerengu and Papatea faults. Teleseismic back projection imaging shows that rupture speed was overall slow (1.4 km/s) but faster on individual fault segments (approximately 2 km/s) and that the conjugate, oblique-reverse, north striking faults released the largest high-frequency energy. We show that the linking Conway-Charwell faults aided in propagation of rupture across the step over from the Humps fault zone to the Hope fault. Fault slip cascaded along the Jordan Thrust, Kekerengu, and Needles faults, causing stress perturbations that activated two major conjugate faults, the Hundalee and Papatea faults. Our results shed important light on the study of earthquakes and seismic hazard evaluation in geometrically complex fault systems.

High Frequency Near-Field Ground Motion Excited by Strike-Slip Step Overs

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:20

We performed dynamic rupture simulations on step overs with 1–2 km step widths and present their corresponding horizontal peak ground velocity distributions in the near field within different frequency ranges. The rupture speeds on fault segments are determinant in controlling the near-field ground motion. A Mach wave impact area at the free surface, which can be inferred from the distribution of the ratio of the maximum fault-strike particle velocity to the maximum fault-normal particle velocity, is generated in the near field with sustained supershear ruptures on fault segments, and the Mach wave impact area cannot be detected with unsustained supershear ruptures alone. Sub-Rayleigh ruptures produce stronger ground motions beyond the end of fault segments. The existence of a low-velocity layer close to the free surface generates large amounts of high-frequency seismic radiation at step over discontinuities. For near-vertical step overs, normal stress perturbations on the primary fault caused by dipping structures affect the rupture speed transition, which further determines the distribution of the near-field ground motion. The presence of an extensional linking fault enhances the near-field ground motion in the extensional regime. This work helps us understand the characteristics of high-frequency seismic radiation in the vicinities of step overs and provides useful insights for interpreting the rupture speed distributions derived from the characteristics of near-field ground motion.

Separation of Diamagnetic and Paramagnetic Fabrics Reveals Strain Directions in Carbonate Rocks

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:17

We present a new procedure for separating magnetic fabrics in coccolith-bearing chalk samples, demonstrated in the case studies of three sites located within the Dead Sea Fault (DSF) plate boundary. The separation is achieved by combining measurements of room temperature and low-temperature anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (RT-AMS and LT-AMS, respectively) with anisotropy of anhysteretic remanence magnetization (AARM). The LT-AMS, measured at ~77 K, enhances the fabric of paramagnetic clay minerals. The AARM represents the fabric of ferromagnetic Fe oxides. By subtracting the paramagnetic and ferromagnetic fabrics from the RT-AMS, the diamagnetic fabric is separated. In the studied samples, we found that the ferromagnetic contribution to the bulk magnetic fabric is negligible and could be excluded from the subtraction procedure. Our analysis indicates that in chalks with a negligible ferromagnetic contribution, diamagnetic fabric predominates the rock bulk magnetic fabric, if the mean susceptibility is <−6 × 10−6 SI, whereas with a mean susceptibility >11 × 10−6 SI, paramagnetic fabric predominates. In the studied rocks, the paramagnetic clay minerals preserve the original depositional fabric, whereas the diamagnetic minerals show a tectonic fabric. We propose a mechanism by which coccolith rotation under tectonic strain contributes to the development of the diamagnetic fabric parallel to the shortening direction. We infer that the diamagnetic fabrics of the studied rocks indicate strain regime of approximately N-S horizontal shortening near strands of the DSF system. This suggests a deflection of the regional principal strain axes near the DSF. The diamagnetic fabric is more sensitive to tectonic strain than paramagnetic fabric in chalks and provides a valuable strain indicator near major faults.

Out-of-Plane Seismic Reflections Beneath the Pacific and Their Geophysical Implications

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:16

We detect seismic P wave arrivals that reach the surface from a different horizontal direction than the theoretical back azimuth of the earthquake. Slowness, back azimuth, and traveltime of observed out-of-plane signals are measured with array methods in relation to the main phases that travel along the great circle path. This directivity information is used to back trace the wave through a 1-D velocity model to its scattering or reflection location. The focus of this study lies on out-of-plane signals reflected once beneath the Pacific at a depth greater than 800 km. Data analysis is carried out for a broad frequency range (band-pass filter with corner periods of 0.5–5 s up to 5–50 s) to enable the detection of different structures and heterogeneities. In addition to mapping seismic heterogeneities in the lower mantle, we also qualitatively analyze waveforms and polarities of these signals to understand the nature of the structure. The observed 21 reflections with a reflection depth between 800 and 2,200 km illuminate heterogeneities in the mid- and lower mantle. Back-traced locations show shallowest depths around Hawaii and increase in depth to the north and southwest. Analysis of the polarities indicates low velocities for the imaged structure, and complexity of waveforms argues for a likely thermochemical origin. Additional 11 deep reflections/scatterers with depth larger than 2,200 km suggest internal heterogeneities or a presence of the D'' reflector.

Phase Field Model of Hydraulic Fracturing in Poroelastic Media: Fracture Propagation, Arrest, and Branching Under Fluid Injection and Extraction

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:15

The simulation of fluid-driven fracture propagation in a porous medium is a major computational challenge, with applications in geosciences and engineering. The two main families of modeling approaches are those models that represent fractures as explicit discontinuities and solve the moving boundary problem and those that represent fractures as thin damaged zones, solving a continuum problem throughout. The latter family includes the so-called phase field models. Continuum approaches to fracture face validation and verification challenges, in particular grid convergence, well posedness, and physical relevance in practical scenarios. Here we propose a new quasi-static phase field formulation. The approach fully couples fluid flow in the fracture with deformation and flow in the porous medium, discretizes flow in the fracture on a lower-dimension manifold, and employs the fluid flux between the fracture and the porous solid as coupling variable. We present a numerical assessment of the model by studying the propagation of a fracture in the quarter five-spot configuration. We study the interplay between injection flow rate and rock properties and elucidate fracture propagation patterns under the leak-off toughness dominated regime as a function of injection rate, initial fracture length, and poromechanical properties. For the considered injection scenario, we show that the final fracture length depends on the injection rate, and three distinct patterns are observed. We also rationalize the system response using dimensional analysis to collapse the model results. Finally, we propose some simplifications that alleviate the computational cost of the simulations without significant loss of accuracy.

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