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EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Modeling of fault reactivation and induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing of shale-gas reservoirs

Rutqvist et al. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. July 2013.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in consultation with the EPA, used computer models to simulate fault reactivation and induced seismicity during hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reservoirs. The simulations indicate that hydraulic fracturing may give rise to slightly larger microseismic events when faults are present than without faults present. The possibility of induced fractures at great depth (thousands of meters) causing activation of faults and creation of a new flow path that can reach shallow ground water resources is remote. Nevertheless, the modeling suggests fault reactivation can spread outside of the pressurized zone. This work was done as part of EPA's Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.

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