ABSTRACT

Production‐induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field caused damage to buildings and concerns for the population, the gas‐field owner, and the local and national authorities and institutions. The largest event (ML=3.6) occurred in 2012 near Huizinge, and, despite the subsequent decision of the Dutch government to reduce the gas production in the following years, similar magnitude events occurred in 2018 and 2019 (ML=3.4). Thanks to the improvement of the local seismic networks in the last years, recent events provide a large number of recordings and an unprecedented opportunity to study the characteristics of induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field and related ground motions.

In this study, we exploit the S‐wave Fourier amplitude spectra recorded by the 200 m depth borehole sensors of the G network from 2015 to 2019 to derive source and attenuation parameters for ML2 induced earthquakes. The borehole spectra are decomposed into source, attenuation, and site nonparametric functions, and parametric models are then adopted to determine moment magnitudes, corner frequencies, and stress drops of 21 events. Attenuation and source parameters are discussed and compared with previous estimates for the region. The impact of destructive interference of upgoing and downgoing waves at borehole depth on the derived parameters is also discussed and assessed to be minor.

The analysis of the apparent source spectra reveals that several events show rupture directivity and provides clear observations of frequency‐dependent directivity effects in induced earthquakes. The estimated rupture direction shows a good agreement with orientation of pre‐existing faults within the reservoir. Our results confirm that rupture directivity is still an important factor for small‐magnitude induced events, affecting the amplitude of recorded short‐period response spectra and causing relevant spatial ground‐motion variability.

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