ABSTRACT

Since 1991, induced earthquakes have been observed and linked to gas production in the Groningen field. Recorded waveforms are complex, resulting partly from a Zechstein salt layer overlying the reservoir and partly from free‐surface reverberations, internal multiples, interface conversions, guided waves, and waves diving below the reservoir. Therefore, picking of polarities or amplitudes for use in moment tensor inversion is problematic, whereas phase identification may be circumvented employing full waveform techniques. Although moment tensors have become a basic tool to analyze earthquake sources, their uncertainties are rarely reported. We introduce a method for probabilistic moment tensor estimation and demonstrate its use on the basis of a single event within the Groningen field, concentrating on detailed tests of input data and inversion parameters to derive rules of good practice for moment tensor estimation of events recorded in the Groningen field. In addition to the moment tensor, event locations are provided. Hypocenters estimated simultaneously with moment tensors are often less sensitive to uncertainties in crustal structure, which is pertinent for the application to the Groningen field, because the task of relating earthquakes to specific faults hitherto suffers from a limited resolution of earthquake locations. Because of the probabilistic approach, parameter trade‐offs, uncertainties, and ambiguities are mapped. In addition, the implemented bootstrap method implicitly accounts for modeling errors affecting every station and phase differently. A local 1D velocity model extracted from a full 3D velocity model yields more consistent results than other models applied previously. For all velocity models and combinations of input data tested, a shift in location of 1 km to the south is observed for the test event compared to the public catalog. A full moment tensor computed employing the local 1D velocity model features negative isotropic components and may be interpreted as normal fault and collapse at reservoir level.

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