Microseismic monitoring with surface or downhole geophone arrays has commonly been used in tracking subsurface deformation and fracture networks during hydraulic fracturing operations. Recently, the use of fiber-optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology has improved microseismic acquisition to a new level with unprecedentedly high spatial resolution and low cost. Deploying fiber-optic cables in horizontal boreholes allows for very close observation of these microsize earthquakes and captures their full wavefield details. We have found that DAS-based microseismic profiles present a seldomly reported near-field strain signal between the P- and S-wave arrivals. This near-field signal indicates a monotonically increasing (or decreasing) temporal variation, which resembles the previously reported near-field observations of large earthquakes. To understand the near-field strain behavior, we use a mathematical expression of the analytic normal strain solution that reveals the near-field, intermediate-near-field, intermediate-far-field, and far-field components. Synthetic DAS strain records of hydraulic-fracture-induced microseismic events can be generated using this analytic solution with the Brune source model. The polarity sign patterns of the near-field and far-field terms in these synthetics are linked to the corresponding source mechanism’s radiation patterns. These polarity sign patterns are demonstrated to be sensitive to the source orientations by rotating the moment tensor in different directions. A field data example is compared to the synthetic result, and a qualitative match is shown. The microseismic near-field signals detected by DAS have potential value in hydraulic fracture monitoring by providing a means to better constrain microseismic source parameters that characterize the source magnitude, source orientation, and temporal source evolution and therefore better reflect the geomechanical response of the hydraulically fractured environment in the unconventional reservoirs.

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