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A review of mechanisms of induced earthquakes: from a view of rock mechanics

  • Jian-Qi Kang
  • Jian-Bo ZhuEmail author
  • Jian Zhao
Review
  • 36 Downloads

Abstract

The induced earthquake recently has gained an increasing public awareness of environmental and safety issue. The earthquakes associated with fluid injection and extraction, reservoir impoundment and mining/rock removal have been extensively reported. Here, we reviewed injection induced earthquakes and their mechanisms from a view of rock mechanics. This review begins by briefly introducing the classification and the state-of-the-art research of induced earthquakes. From a view of rock mechanics, three fundamental mechanisms of induced earthquakes, i.e., pore pressure increase, stress change, and change in coefficient of friction, are introduced in details. Firstly, we discussed pore pressure increase due to fluid injection and reservoir impoundment, and explained earthquakes caused by fluid injection and related to reservoirs according to the Mohr–Coulomb failure criterion and effective stress law in the saturated rock. Secondly, we discussed stress change resulting from fluid extraction, temperature change, reservoir loading and quarry unloading. Thirdly, we investigated factors determining coefficient of friction, i.e., mineralogy, fluid pressure and temperature. Moreover, it is a remarkable fact that additional physical or chemical effects of fluids may lead to weakening of materials in fault zones owing to stress corrosion and stable slip, according to the rate and state friction law. Finally, we summarized and compared mechanisms of induced earthquakes that occurred in a variety of past human activities and projects, and recommended future potential means and scopes to investigate the mechanism of induced earthquakes.

Keywords

Induced earthquakes Stress Pore pressure Friction coefficient 

List of symbols

\(\sigma_{\theta }\)

Tangential stress

\(\sigma_{r}\)

Radial stress

\(\sigma_{1} ,\sigma_{3}\)

Axial stress

\(\theta\)

Angle between the point on drilling wall and the \(\sigma_{1}\) axis

\(p_{initial}\)

Pore pressure of the fracture opening initially

\(T_{0}\)

Tensile strength

k

Permeability coefficient

p

Pore pressure

c

Coefficient of consolidation

\(T^{'}\)

Transmissivity

S

Coefficient of storage

q

Flow per unit width

J

Hydraulic gradient

b

Distance between the parallel plate

v

Fluid kinematic viscosity

\(Q_{inject}\)

Volume of the injected fluid,

\(Q_{stored }\)

Total fluid volume stored in the fracture

\(Q_{lost}\)

Fluid volume lost into the surrounding aquifer

\(r_{f}\)

Half-length of the fracture

t

Time

\(q_{I}\)

Average rate of the injected fluid

\(C_{L}\)

Fluid-loss coefficient

\(h_{f} ,w\)

Average fracture length and width

\(\tau_{crit}\)

Critical shear stress

\(\sigma_{n}\)

Normal stress

\(\mu\)

Coefficient of friction

C

Cohesion

\(\alpha\)

Biot–Willis coefficient

v

Poisson’s ratio

V

Reservoir volume

\(\rho\)

Density

c

Specific heat of the rock

T

Temperature

Q

Net flux out of heat out of the reservoir

\(\mu_{0}\)

Coefficient of friction at a reference velocity \((V_{0} )\)

V

Velocity

\(\theta\)

State variable

dc

Critical displacement

a, b

Frictional parameters

\(K\)

Stiffness of the loading system

\(K_{c}\)

Critical fault stiffness

\(\tau\)

Shear strength

Notes

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Hydraulic Engineering Simulation and Safety, School of Civil EngineeringTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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