ABSTRACT

In this work, we integrate a fluid‐flow model of 3D deformable porous media with a dynamic rupture model of earthquakes in 3D heterogeneous geologic medium. The method allows us to go beyond fault failure potential analyses and to examine how big an earthquake can be if part of a fault reaches failure due to fluid injection. We apply the method to the 17 May 2012 Mw 4.8 Timpson, Texas, earthquake as a case study. The simulated perturbations of pore pressure and stress from wastewater injection at the time of the mainshock are high enough (several MPa) to trigger an earthquake. Dynamic rupture modeling could reproduce the major observations from the Mw 4.8 event, including its size, focal mechanism, and aftershock sequence, and thus building a more convincing physical link between fluid injection and the Mw 4.8 earthquake. Furthermore, parameter space studies of dynamic rupture modeling allow us to place some constraints on fault frictional properties and background stresses. For the Timpson case, we find that a dynamic friction coefficient of 0.3, a value of 0.1  m for the critical slip distance in the slip‐weakening friction law, and uniform effective normal stress are associated with the Timpson earthquake fault. By reproducing main features of the aftershock sequence of the mainshock, we also demonstrate that the method has potential to become a predictive tool for fluid injection design in the future.

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