Applied Geophysics

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 363–371 | Cite as

Fault detection based on microseismic events

Production seismics


In unconventional reservoirs, small faults allow the flow of oil and gas as well as act as obstacles to exploration; for, (1) fracturing facilitates fluid migration, (2) reservoir flooding, and (3) triggering of small earthquakes. These small faults are not generally detected because of the low seismic resolution. However, such small faults are very active and release sufficient energy to initiate a large number of microseismic events (MEs) during hydraulic fracturing. In this study, we identified microfractures (MF) from hydraulic fracturing and natural small faults based on microseismicity characteristics, such as the time–space distribution, source mechanism, magnitude, amplitude, and frequency. First, I identified the mechanism of small faults and MF by reservoir stress analysis and calibrated the ME based on the microseismic magnitude. The dynamic characteristics (frequency and amplitude) of MEs triggered by natural faults and MF were analyzed; moreover, the geometry and activity types of natural fault and MF were grouped according to the source mechanism. Finally, the differences among time–space distribution, magnitude, source mechanism, amplitude, and frequency were used to differentiate natural faults and manmade fractures.


microseismic (MS) monitoring faulting magnitude fracturing unconventional reservoirs source mechanism 


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The author wishes to thank the members of the microseismic research group at the Sichuan Geophysical Company. The suggestions of Profs. Huang Xuri, Wang Runqiu, and others are appreciated; however, I bear full responsibility of the arguments and conclusions.


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© Editorial Office of Applied Geophysics and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sichuan Geophysical Company of Chuanqing Drilling Engineering Company LimitedCNPCChengduChina
  2. 2.State Key Lab. of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and ExploitationChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina

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