Deep Well Injection Induced Seismicity


  • Dario Rosidi CH2M HILL Corporation, Oakland, USA, United States, SCOPUS ID = 6506775115



Induced seismicity, man-made seismicity, deep well injection, oil & gas exploration, waste disposal


Injection of fluid into subsurface geologic strata for geothermal energy, oil production, and waste disposal has been linked to induced seismic activity in the United States as well as in several other countries. According to the report of the National Research Council of United States of America thousands of induced earthquakes were reported at the numerous sites, where oil and gas recovery and waste disposal activities took place. Most of these induced earthquakes were small magnitude events (Moment Magnitude [Mw] < 4), although earthquakes of magnitude (Mw) 6.5 to 7 were also reported near the oil and gas production sites. This paper presents the results of a review of case histories on increased seismic events due to deep well injection (DWI) and oil extraction. Key factors that may lead or contribute to increased seismicity will also be discussed.


McGarr, A., Simpson, D., and Seeber, L., Case Histories of Induced and Triggered Seismicity, International Handbook of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology, Part. A., W.H.K., Lee et al., eds., Academic Press, 2002, pp. 647-661.

National Research Council, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies, National Academies Press Prepublication, 2012.

The National Academy of Sciences, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies, 2012.

Ake, J., Mahrer, K., O’Connell, D., and Block, L., Deep-Injection and Closely Monitored Induced Sesmicity at Paradox Valley, Colorado, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 95(2), 2005, pp. 664–683.

Block, L., Paradox Valley Deep Disposal Well and Induced Seismicity, Presentation to the National Research Council Committee on Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies, Dallas, TX. September 14, 2011.

Bureau of Reclamation, Overview of PVU-Induced Seismicity from 1996 to 2009 and Implications for Future Injection Operations, Technical Memorandum No. 86-68330-2009-22, 2009.

Bureau of Reclamation, Annual Report Paradox Valley Seismic Network, Paradox Valley Project, Colorado, Technical Memorandum No. 86-68330-2010-07, 2010.

McClain, W.C., On Earthquakes Induced by Underground Fluid Injection, ORNL-TM-3154, Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1970.

Herrmann, R.B., Park, S.-K., and Wang, C.-Y., The Denver Earthquakes of 1967-1968, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 71(3), 1981, pp. 731-745.

Evans, D.M., The Denver area earthquakes and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal disposal well, The Mountain Geologist, 3(1), 1966, pp. 23-26.

Healy, J.H., Rubey, W.W., Griggs, D.T., and Raleigh, C.B., The Denver Earthquakes, Science, 161, 1968, pp. 1301-1310.

Hsieh, P.A. and Bredehoeft, J.S., A reservoir analysis of the Denver earthquakes: A case of induced seismicity, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86(B2), 1981, 903-920.

Preiss, J.S., Walter, S.R., and Oppenheimer, D.H., Seismicity maps of the Santa Rosa 1deg by 2deg Quadrangle, California for the period 1969-1995”. U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series, 1996.

Beall, J.J., Stark, M.A., Bill Smith, J.L., and Kirkpatrick, A., Microearthquakes in the SE Geysers before and after SEGEP injection, Geothermal Resources Council, Transactions, 23, 1999, pp. 253-257.

Majer, E.L., Baria, R., Stark, M., Oates, S., Bommer, J., Smith, B., and Asanuma, H., Induced Seismicity Associated with Enhanced Geothermal Systems, Geothermics, 2007.

McGarr, A., On possible Connection between Three Major Earthquakes in California and Oil Production. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 81(3), June 1991, pp. 948-970.

Horton, S., Disposal of Hydrofracking-Waste Fluid by Injection into Subsurface Aquifers Trigger Earthquake Swarm in Central Arkansas with Potential for Damaging Earthquake, Seismological Research Letters, 83(2), 2012.




How to Cite

Rosidi, D. (2022). Deep Well Injection Induced Seismicity. Civil Engineering Dimension, 24(1), 54-61.