Locating induced earthquakes with a network of seismic stations in Oklahoma via a deep learning method.


School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230026, P. R. China. [Email]


The accurate and automated determination of small earthquake (ML < 3.0) locations is still a challenging endeavor due to low signal-to-noise ratio in data. However, such information is critical for monitoring seismic activity and assessing potential hazards. In particular, earthquakes caused by industrial injection have become a public concern, and regulators need a solid capability for estimating small earthquakes that may trigger the action requirements for operators to follow in real time. In this study, we develop a fully convolutional network and locate earthquakes induced during oil and gas operations in Oklahoma with data from 30 network stations. The network is trained by 1,013 cataloged events (ML ≥ 3.0) as base data along with augmented data accounting for smaller events (3.0 > ML ≥ 0.5), and the output is a 3D volume of the event location probability in the Earth. The prediction results suggest that the mean epicenter errors of the testing events (ML ≥ 1.5) vary from 3.7 to 6.4 km, meeting the need of the traffic light system in Oklahoma, but smaller events (ML = 1.0, 0.5) show errors larger than 11 km. Synthetic tests suggest that the accuracy of ground truth from catalog affects the prediction results. Correct ground truth leads to a mean epicenter error of 2.0 km in predictions, but adding a mean location error of 6.3 km to ground truth causes a mean epicenter error of 4.9 km. The automated system is able to distinguish certain interfered events or events out of the monitoring zone based on the output probability estimate. It requires approximately one hundredth of a second to locate an event without the need for any velocity model or human interference.

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