Using Automated, High-precision Repicking to Improve Delineation of Microseismic Structures at the Soultz Geothermal Reservoir
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— An automatic, adaptive, correlation-based algorithm for adjusting phase picks in large digital seismic data sets provides significant improvement in resolution of microseismic structures using only a small fraction of the time and manpower which would be required to re-analyze waveforms manually or semi-automatically. We apply this technique to induced seismicity at the Soultz-sous-Forêts geothermal site, France. The method is first applied to a small, previously manually repicked subset of the catalogue so that we may compare our results to those obtained from painstaking, visual, cross-correlation-based techniques. Relative centroid-adjusted hypocenters show a decrease in median mislocation from 31 to 7 m for preliminary and automatically adjusted picks, respectively, compared to the manual results. Narrow, intersecting joint features not observed in the preliminary hypocenter cloud, but revealed through manual repicking, are also recovered using the automatic method. We then address a larger catalogue of ∼7000 microearthquakes. After relocating the events using automatic repicks, the percentage of events clustering within 5 m of their nearest neighbor increases form 5 to 26% of the catalogue. Hypocenter relocations delineate narrow, linear features previously obscured within the seismic cloud, interpreted as faults or fractures which may correspond to fluid propagation paths, or to changes in stress as a result of elevated pore pressures. RMS travel-time residuals for the larger data set are reduced by only 0.2%; however, phase-pick biases in the preliminary catalogue have influenced both the velocity model and station correction calculations, which will affect location residuals. These pick biases are apparent on the adjusted, stacked waveforms and correcting them will be important prior to future velocity model refinements.
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