abstract

A microearthquake seismograph network has been employed to study earthquakes occurring in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico. The earthquakes are predominantly located on the Central Basin platform, although a few occur in the Delaware Basin. The majority of the earthquakes occur at the depths of sedimentary rocks, and the focal depths are also coincident with the depths at which hydrocarbon production and water-flood (secondary recovery) operations are conducted. Comparison of the historic earthquake activity with water-flood data shows that there was a possible increase in the number of large earthquakes (M > 3.0) in the mid-1960's when the number of water-flood projects and their injection pressures increased. The first felt event occurred in 1966. This tentative correlation suggests that the earthquakes are related to hydrocarbon production in this area.

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