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Trugman, DT, Shearer PM, Borsa AA, Fialko Y.  2016.  A comparison of long-term changes in seismicity at The Geysers, Salton Sea, and Coso geothermal fields. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:225-247.   10.1002/2015jb012510   AbstractWebsite

Geothermal energy is an important source of renewable energy, yet its production is known to induce seismicity. Here we analyze seismicity at the three largest geothermal fields in California: The Geysers, Salton Sea, and Coso. We focus on resolving the temporal evolution of seismicity rates, which provides important observational constraints on how geothermal fields respond to natural and anthropogenic loading. We develop an iterative, regularized inversion procedure to partition the observed seismicity rate into two components: (1) the interaction rate due to earthquake-earthquake triggering and (2) the smoothly varying background rate controlled by other time-dependent stresses, including anthropogenic forcing. We apply our methodology to compare long-term changes in seismicity to monthly records of fluid injection and withdrawal. At The Geysers, we find that the background seismicity rate is highly correlated with fluid injection, with the mean rate increasing by approximately 50% and exhibiting strong seasonal fluctuations following construction of the Santa Rosa pipeline in 2003. In contrast, at both Salton Sea and Coso, the background seismicity rate has remained relatively stable since 1990, though both experience short-term rate fluctuations that are not obviously modulated by geothermal plant operation. We also observe significant temporal variations in Gutenberg-Richter b value, earthquake magnitude distribution, and earthquake depth distribution, providing further evidence for the dynamic evolution of stresses within these fields. The differing field-wide responses to fluid injection and withdrawal may reflect differences in in situ reservoir conditions and local tectonics, suggesting that a complex interplay of natural and anthropogenic stressing controls seismicity within California's geothermal fields.

Hamiel, Y, Fialko Y.  2007.  Structure and mechanical properties of faults in the North Anatolian Fault system from InSAR observations of coseismic deformation due to the 1999 Izmit (Turkey) earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 112   10.1029/2006jb004777   AbstractWebsite

We study the structure and mechanical properties of faults in the North Anatolian Fault system by observing near-fault deformation induced by the 1999 M-w 7.4 Izmit earthquake (Turkey). We use interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System observations to analyze the coseismic surface deformation in the near field of the Izmit rupture. The overall observed coseismic deformation is consistent with deformation predicted by a dislocation model assuming a uniform elastic crust. Previous InSAR studies revealed small-scale changes in the radar range across the nearby faults of the North Anatolian fault system (in particular, the Mudurnu Valley and Iznik faults) (e.g., Wright et al., 2001). We demonstrate that these anomalous range changes are consistent with an elastic response of compliant fault zones to the stress perturbation induced by the Izmit earthquake. We examine the spatial variations and mechanical properties of fault zones around the Mudurnu Valley and Iznik faults using three-dimensional finite element models. In these models, we include compliant fault zones having various geometries and elastic properties and apply stress changes deduced from a kinematic slip model of the Izmit earthquake. The best fitting models suggest that the inferred fault zones have a characteristic width of a few kilometers, depth in excess of 10 km, and reductions in the effective shear modulus of about a factor of 3 compared to the surrounding rocks. The characteristic width of the best fitting fault zone models is consistent with field observations along the North Anatolian Fault system (Ambraseys, 1970). Our results are also in agreement with InSAR observations of small-scale deformation on faults in the Eastern California Shear Zone in response to the 1992 Landers and 1999 Hector Mine earthquakes (Fialko et al., 2002; Fialko, 2004). The inferred compliant fault zones likely represent intense damage and may be quite commonly associated with large crustal faults.