Abstract

Local earthquake activity can be employed to measure attenuation (the effective quality factor [Q]) and characterize production in the Delaware Basin, Texas, USA. To illustrate this, we employed data from the recently installed Texas Seismic Network (TexNet) seismic stations collected in the west Texas area between April 2017 and March 2018. Earthquake activity in the Delaware Basin has increased in comparison to the previous 20 years, which has resulted in numerous high-quality events suitable for this analysis. The high signal-to-noise ratio events were used to estimate effective Q factors using the peak frequency method on the sediments of the Delaware Basin. The effective attenuation of the sedimentary basin is 90 for P-waves and 140 for S-waves (both with uncertainty of approximately 30), indicating an unusually low attenuation (high Q) for S-waves relative to the P-waves. This is consistent with attenuation of a saturated sedimentary basin because the saturation results in less attenuation of S-waves. Additionally, we observe an increase of the effective Q factor with distance between the station and events consistent with rays sampling the deeper, less-attenuating, and less-saturated portions of the basin and even basement. Inverted effective attenuation coefficients were used to calculate moment magnitudes, which were consistent with those seen in the TexNet array.

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