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The 2013 September-October seismic sequence offshore Spain: a case of seismicity triggered by gas injection?

AutorCesca, S.; Grigoli, F.; Heimann, S.; González, A. ; Buforn, Elisa ; Maghsoudi, S.; Blanch, E.; Dahm, T.
Palabras claveEarthquake source observations
Earthquake dynamics
Fecha de publicaciónago-2014
EditorOxford University Press
Royal Astronomical Society
CitaciónGeophysical Journal International, 198(2): 941- 953 (2014)
ResumenA spatially localized seismic sequence originated few tens of kilometres offshore the Mediterranean coast of Spain, close to the Ebro river delta, starting on 2013 September 5, and lasting at least until 2013 October. The sequence culminated in a maximal moment magnitude Mw 4.3 earthquake, on 2013 October 1. The most relevant seismogenic feature in the area is the Fosa de Amposta fault system, which includes different strands mapped at different distances to the coast, with a general NE¿SW orientation, roughly parallel to the coastline. However, no significant known historical seismicity has involved this fault system in the past. The epicentral region is also located near the offshore platform of the Castor project, where gas is conducted through a pipeline from mainland and where it was recently injected in a depleted oil reservoir, at about 2 km depth. We analyse the temporal evolution of the seismic sequence and use full waveform techniques to derive absolute and relative locations, estimate depths and focal mechanisms for the largest events in the sequence (with magnitude mbLg larger than 3), and compare them to a previous event (2012 April 8, mbLg 3.3) taking place in the same region prior to the gas injection. Moment tensor inversion results show that the overall seismicity in this sequence is characterized by oblique mechanisms with a normal fault component, with a 30° low-dip angle plane oriented NNE¿SSW and a subvertical plane oriented NW¿SE. The combined analysis of hypocentral location and focal mechanisms could indicate that the seismic sequence corresponds to rupture processes along shallow low-dip surfaces, which could have been triggered by the gas injection in the reservoir, and excludes the activation of the Amposta fault, as its known orientation is inconsistent with focal mechanism results. An alternative scenario includes the iterated triggering of a system of steep faults oriented NW¿SE, which were identified by prior marine seismics investigations.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggu172
Identificadoresissn: 0956-540X
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