Abstract

We adapt the relative polarity method from Shelly et al. (2016) to compute focal mechanisms for microearthquakes associated with the 2014 hydroshearing stimulation at the Newberry volcano geothermal site. We focus the analysis on events relocated by Aguiar and Myers (2018), who report that six event clusters predominantly comprise the 2014 sequence. Data quality allows focal mechanism analysis for four of the six event clusters. We use Hardebeck and Shearer (2002, 2003; hereafter HASH) to compute focal mechanisms based on first‐motion polarities and S/P amplitude ratios. We manually determine P‐ and S‐wave polarities for a well‐recorded reference event in each cluster, then use waveform cross correlation to determine whether recordings of other events in the cluster are the same or reversed polarity at each network station. Most waveform polarities are consistent with the affiliated reference event, indicating similar focal mechanisms within each cluster. The deeper clusters are east–west‐striking normal faults, whereas the shallower clusters, close to the top of the open‐hole section of the borehole, are strike slip with east–west motion. Regional studies and prestimulation borehole breakouts find the maximum stress direction is vertical and maximum horizontal stress is approximately north–south. Fault geometry and focal mechanisms of microseismicity during the stimulation suggest that increased pressure from fluid injection predominantly caused changes in horizontal stress, consistent with predictions from numerical studies of stress change caused by fluid injection. At shallow depths, where previous studies suggest the difference between vertical and horizontal stress is lowest, injection appears to have rotated the direction of maximum stress from vertical to horizontal, resulting in strike‐slip motion. At greater depth, vertical stress continued to be the dominant direction during the stimulation, but fault orientation indicates either reactivation of pre‐existing fractures or rotation of the direction of maximum horizontal stress from approximately north–south to east–west.

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