Spontaneous rupture on natural fractures and seismic radiation during hydraulic fracturing treatments
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©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. We extend spontaneous rupture models in earthquake source studies to analyze fluid injection problems. We perform these analyses on a 2-D fracture network model with a propagating hydraulic fracture (HF) and three sets of natural fractures (NFs). We find that it is difficult for NFs that are either parallel or perpendicular to the HF to slip because of little resolved shear stress on them in the prestress field. Shear failure of optimally oriented NFs depends on frictional parameters, such as the critical slip distance in slip-weakening laws. Slip of NFs near the tips of the HF may affect HF opening. Nonsmooth fracture opening generates isolated spiky seismic signals, while unstable frictional slip radiates strong and continuous seismic signals with long-duration coda waves. These results suggest microseismicity may be primarily generated by unstable frictional slip on NFs with some contribution from nonsmooth opening motions on HFs and/or NFs.
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