Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Hydraulic fracturing and seismicity in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

Gail M. Atkinson, David W. Eaton, Hadi Ghofrani, Dan Walker, Burns Cheadle, Ryan Schultz, Robert Shcherbakov, Kristy Tiampo, Jeff Gu, Rebecca M. Harrington, Yajing Liu, Mirko van der Baan and Honn Kao
Hydraulic fracturing and seismicity in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin
Seismological Research Letters (March 2016) 87 (3): 631-647


The development of most unconventional oil and gas resources relies upon subsurface injection of very large volumes of fluids, which can induce earthquakes by activating slip on a nearby fault. During the last 5 years, accelerated oilfield fluid injection has led to a sharp increase in the rate of earthquakes in some parts of North America. In the central United States, most induced seismicity is linked to deep disposal of coproduced wastewater from oil and gas extraction. In contrast, in western Canada most recent cases of induced seismicity are highly correlated in time and space with hydraulic fracturing, during which fluids are injected under high pressure during well completion to induce localized fracturing of rock. Furthermore, it appears that the maximum-observed magnitude of events associated with hydraulic fracturing may exceed the predictions of an often-cited relationship between the volume of injected fluid and the maximum expected magnitude. These findings have far-reaching implications for assessment of induced-seismicity hazards.

ISSN: 0895-0695
EISSN: 1938-2057
Serial Title: Seismological Research Letters
Serial Volume: 87
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Hydraulic fracturing and seismicity in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin
Affiliation: Western University, Department of Earth Sciences, London, ON, Canada
Pages: 631-647
Published: 20160330
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, El Cerrito, CA, United States
References: 62
Accession Number: 2016-034673
Categories: SeismologyEnvironmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: Includes appendices
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, geol. sketch maps
N50°00'00" - N60°00'00", W124°00'00" - W112°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Calgary, CAN, CanadaBritish Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, CAN, CanadaAlberta Geological Survey, CAN, CanadaUniversity of Alberta, CAN, CanadaMcGill University, CAN, CanadaNatural Resources Canada, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201617
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal