Matching Items (10)

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Using InSAR to Investigate Injection-Induced Deformation and Seismicity in Timpson, Texas

Description

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become a common practice in United States oil fields for enhancing their productivity. Among the concerns regarding fracking, however, is the possibility that it could

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become a common practice in United States oil fields for enhancing their productivity. Among the concerns regarding fracking, however, is the possibility that it could trigger shallow earthquakes. The brine that results from fracking is injected into the subsurface for disposal. This brine causes a pore pressure gradient that is commonly believed to trigger failure along critically stressed subsurface faults. In Timpson, a small city in eastern Texas, earthquakes have become much more common since two injection wells were installed in 2007. 16 events of M_W > 2 have been detected since 2008 and are believed to be associated with failure along a subsurface fault. Applying interferometric synthetic aperture radar, we analyzed 3 sets of SAR images from the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) from May 2007 to December 2010. Using these data sets, XX interferograms were generated. From these interferograms, it was possible to determine the spatial and temporal evolution of the crustal deformation in the line-of-sight of the satellite. The results show strong evidence of uplift in the region adjacent to the injection wells. While previous studies have established a strong connection between fluid injection and increased seismicity, this is to our knowledge the first observed case of crustal deformation that has been observed as a result of hydraulic fracturing fluid disposal.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Implications of recent asperity failures and aseismic creep for time-dependent earthquake hazard on the Hayward fault

Description

The probability of large seismic events on a particular fault segment may vary due to external stress changes imparted by nearby deformation events, including other earthquakes and aseismic processes, such

The probability of large seismic events on a particular fault segment may vary due to external stress changes imparted by nearby deformation events, including other earthquakes and aseismic processes, such as fault creep and postseismic relaxation. The Hayward fault (HF), undergoing both seismic and aseismic fault slip, provides a unique opportunity to study the mutual relation of seismic and aseismic processes on a fault system. We use surface deformation data obtained from InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar), creepmeters and alinement arrays, together with constraints provided by repeating earthquakes to investigate the kinematics of fault creep on the northern HF and its relation to two seismic clusters (M-w <= 4.1) in October 2011 and March 2012, and an M-w 4.2 event in July 2007. Recurrences of nearby repeating earthquakes show that these episodes involved both seismic and aseismic slip. We model the stress changes due to fault creep and the recent seismic activity on the locked central asperity of the HF, which is believed to be the rupture zone of past and future M similar to 7 earthquakes. The results show that the shallow fault creep stresses the major locked central patch at an average rate of 0.001-0.003 MPa/yr, in addition to background stressing at 0.01-0.015 MPa/yr. Given the time-dependent nature of the creep, occasional deviations from this stressing rate occur. We find that the 2011 seismic cluster occurred in areas on the fault that are stressed up to 0.01 MPa/yr due to aseismic slip on the surrounding segments, suggesting that the occurrence of these events was encouraged by the fault creep. Changes in the probability of major earthquakes can be estimated from the imparted stress from the recent earthquakes and associated fault creep transients. We estimate that the 1-day probability of a large event on the HF only increased by up to 0.18% and 0.05% due to the static stress increase and stressing rate change by the 2011 and 2012 clusters. For the July 2007 south Oakland event (M-w 4.2) the estimated increase of short-term probabilities is 50%, highlighting the importance of short-term probability changes due to transient stress changes.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-09-05

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Transitions in eruption style at silicic volcanoes: from stable domes to pyroclastic flows and explosive plumes

Description

Silicic volcanoes produce many styles of activity over a range of timescales. Eruptions vary from slow effusion of viscous lava over many years to violent explosions lasting several hours. Hazards

Silicic volcanoes produce many styles of activity over a range of timescales. Eruptions vary from slow effusion of viscous lava over many years to violent explosions lasting several hours. Hazards from these eruptions can be far-reaching and persistent, and are compounded by the dense populations often surrounding active volcanoes. I apply and develop satellite and ground-based remote sensing techniques to document eruptions at Merapi and Sinabung Volcanoes in Indonesia. I use numerical models of volcanic activity in combination with my observational data to describe the processes driving different eruption styles, including lava dome growth and collapse, lava flow emplacement, and transitions between effusive and explosive activity.

Both effusive and explosive eruptions have occurred recently at Merapi volcano. I use satellite thermal images to identify variations during the 2006 effusive eruption and a numerical model of magma ascent to explain the mechanisms that controlled those variations. I show that a nearby tectonic earthquake may have triggered the peak phase of the eruption by increasing the overpressure and bubble content of the magma and that the frequency of pyroclastic flows is correlated with eruption rate. In 2010, Merapi erupted explosively but also shifted between rapid dome-building and explosive phases. I explain these variations by the heterogeneous addition of CO2 to the melt from bedrock under conditions favorable to transitions between effusive and explosive styles.

At Sinabung, I use photogrammetry and satellite images to describe the emplacement of a viscous lava flow. I calculate the flow volume (0.1 km3) and average effusion rate (4.4 m3 s-1) and identify active regions of collapse and advance. Advance rate was controlled by the effusion rate and the flow’s yield strength. Pyroclastic flow activity was initially correlated to the decreasing flow advance rate, but was later affected by the underlying topography as the flow inflated and collapsed near the vent, leading to renewed pyroclastic flow activity.

This work describes previously poorly understood mechanisms of silicic lava emplacement, including multiple causes of pyroclastic flows, and improves the understanding, monitoring capability, and hazard assessment of silicic volcanic eruptions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Remote Sensing and Modeling of Stressed Aquifer Systems and the Associated Hazards

Description

Aquifers host the largest accessible freshwater resource in the world. However, groundwater reserves are declining in many places. Often coincident with drought, high extraction rates and inadequate replenishment result in

Aquifers host the largest accessible freshwater resource in the world. However, groundwater reserves are declining in many places. Often coincident with drought, high extraction rates and inadequate replenishment result in groundwater overdraft and permanent land subsidence. Land subsidence is the cause of aquifer storage capacity reduction, altered topographic gradients which can exacerbate floods, and differential displacement that can lead to earth fissures and infrastructure damage. Improving understanding of the sources and mechanisms driving aquifer deformation is important for resource management planning and hazard mitigation.

Poroelastic theory describes the coupling of differential stress, strain, and pore pressure, which are modulated by material properties. To model these relationships, displacement time series are estimated via satellite interferometry and hydraulic head levels from observation wells provide an in-situ dataset. In combination, the deconstruction and isolation of selected time-frequency components allow for estimating aquifer parameters, including the elastic and inelastic storage coefficients, compaction time constants, and vertical hydraulic conductivity. Together these parameters describe the storage response of an aquifer system to changes in hydraulic head and surface elevation. Understanding aquifer parameters is useful for the ongoing management of groundwater resources.

Case studies in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, focus on land subsidence from groundwater withdrawal as well as distinct responses to artificial recharge efforts. In Christchurch, New Zealand, possible changes to aquifer properties due to earthquakes are investigated. In Houston, Texas, flood severity during Hurricane Harvey is linked to subsidence, which modifies base flood elevations and topographic gradients.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Constraining Source Models, Underlying Mechanisms, and Hazards Associated with Slow Slip Events: Insight from Space-Borne Geodesy and Seismology

Description

The movement between tectonic plates is accommodated through brittle (elastic) displacement on the plate boundary faults and ductile permanent deformation on the fault borderland. The elastic displacement along the fault

The movement between tectonic plates is accommodated through brittle (elastic) displacement on the plate boundary faults and ductile permanent deformation on the fault borderland. The elastic displacement along the fault can occur in the form of either large seismic events or aseismic slip, known as fault creep. Fault creep mainly occurs at the deep ductile portion of the crust, where the temperature is high. Nonetheless, aseismic creep can also occur on the shallow brittle portion of the fault segments that are characterized by frictionally weak material, elevated pore fluid pressure, or geometrical complexity. Creeping segments are assumed to safely release the accumulated strain(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992) on the fault and also impede propagation of the seismic rupture. The rate of aseismic slip on creeping faults, however, might not be steady in time and instead consist of successive periods of acceleration and deceleration, known as slow slip events (SSEs). SSEs, which aseismically release the strain energy over a period of days to months, rather than the seconds to minutes characteristic of a typical earthquake, have been interpreted as earthquake precursors and as possible triggering factor for major earthquakes. Therefore, understanding the partitioning of seismic and aseismic fault slip and evolution of creep is fundamental to constraining the fault earthquake potential and improving operational seismic hazard models. Thanks to advances in tectonic geodesy, it is now possible to detect the fault movement in high spatiotemporal resolution and develop kinematic models of the creep evolution on the fault to determine the budget of seismic and aseismic slip.

In this dissertation, I measure the decades-long time evolution of fault-related crustal deformation along the San Andrea Fault in California and the northeast Japan subduction zone using space-borne geodetic techniques, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). The surface observation of deformation combined with seismic data set allow constraining the time series of creep distribution on the fault surface at seismogenic depth. The obtained time-dependent kinematic models reveal that creep in both study areas evolves through a series of SSEs, each lasting for several months. Using physics-based models informed by laboratory experiments, I show that the transient elevation of pore fluid pressure is the driving mechanism of SSEs. I further investigate the link between SSEs and evolution of seismicity on neighboring locked segments, which has implications for seismic hazard models and also provides insights into the pattern of microstructure on the fault surface. I conclude that while creeping segments act as seismic rupture barriers, SSEs on these zones might promote seismicity on adjacent seismogenic segments, thus change the short-term earthquake forecast.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Combining tectonic geomorphology and paleoseismology for understanding of earthquake recurrence

Description

There is a need to understand spatio-temporal variation of slip in active fault zones, both for the advancement of physics-based earthquake simulation and for improved probabilistic seismic hazard assessments. One

There is a need to understand spatio-temporal variation of slip in active fault zones, both for the advancement of physics-based earthquake simulation and for improved probabilistic seismic hazard assessments. One challenge in the study of seismic hazards is producing a viable earthquake rupture forecast—a model that specifies the expected frequency and magnitude of events for a fault system. Time-independent earthquake forecasts can produce a mismatch among observed earthquake recurrence intervals, slip-per-event estimates, and implied slip rates. In this thesis, I developed an approach to refine several key geologic inputs to rupture forecasts by focusing on the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, California. I use topographic forms, sub-surface excavations, and high-precision geochronology to understand the generation and preservation of slip markers at several spatial and temporal scales—from offset in a single earthquake to offset accumulated over thousands of years. This work results in a comparison of slip rate estimates in the Carrizo Plain for the last ~15 kyr that reduces ambiguity and enriches rupture forecast parameters. I analyzed a catalog of slip measurements and surveyed earth scientists with varying amounts of experience to validate high-resolution topography as a supplement to field-based active fault studies. The investigation revealed that (for both field and remote studies) epistemic uncertainties associated with measuring offset landforms can present greater limitations than the aleatoric limitations of the measurement process itself. I pursued the age and origin of small-scale fault-offset fluvial features at Van Matre Ranch, where topographic depressions were previously interpreted as single-event tectonic offsets. I provide new estimates of slip in the most recent earthquake, refine the centennial-scale fault slip rate, and formulate a new understanding of the formation of small-scale fault-offset fluvial channels from small catchments (<7,000 m2). At Phelan Creeks, I confirm the constancy of strain release for the ~15,000 years in the Carrizo Plain by reconstructing a multistage offset landform evolutionary history. I update and explicate a simplified model to interpret the geomorphic response of stream channels to strike-slip faulting. Lastly, I re-excavate and re-interpret paleoseismic catalogs along an intra-continental strike-slip fault (Altyn Tagh, China) to assess consistency of earthquake recurrence.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Breaking ground on the Moon and Mars: reconstructing lunar tectonic evolution and Martian central pit crater formation

Description

Understanding the structural evolution of planetary surfaces provides key insights to their physical properties and processes. On the Moon, large-scale tectonism was thought to have ended over a billion years

Understanding the structural evolution of planetary surfaces provides key insights to their physical properties and processes. On the Moon, large-scale tectonism was thought to have ended over a billion years ago. However, new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) high resolution images show the Moon’s surface in unprecedented detail and show many previously unidentified tectonic landforms, forcing a re-assessment of our views of lunar tectonism. I mapped lobate scarps, wrinkle ridges, and graben across Mare Frigoris – selected as a type area due to its excellent imaging conditions, abundance of tectonic landforms, and range of inferred structural controls. The distribution, morphology, and crosscutting relationships of these newly identified populations of tectonic landforms imply a more complex and longer-lasting history of deformation that continues to today. I also performed additional numerical modeling of lobate scarp structures that indicates the upper kilometer of the lunar surface has experienced 3.5-18.6 MPa of differential stress in the recent past, likely due to global compression from radial thermal contraction.

Central pit craters on Mars are another instance of intriguing structures that probe subsurface physical properties. These kilometer-scale pits are nested in the centers of many impact craters on Mars as well as on icy satellites. They are inferred to form in the presence of a water-ice rich substrate; however, the process(es) responsible for their formation is still debated. Previous models invoke origins by either explosive excavation of potentially water-bearing crustal material, or by subsurface drainage of meltwater and/or collapse. I assessed radial trends in grain size around central pits using thermal inertias calculated from Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) thermal infrared images. Average grain size decreases with radial distance from pit rims – consistent with pit-derived ejecta but not expected for collapse models. I present a melt-contact model that might enable a delayed explosion, in which a central uplift brings ice-bearing substrate into contact with impact melt to generate steam explosions and excavate central pits during the impact modification stage.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Machine learning on Mars: a new lens on data from planetary exploration missions

Description

There are more than 20 active missions exploring planets and small bodies beyond Earth in our solar system today. Many more have completed their journeys or will soon begin. Each

There are more than 20 active missions exploring planets and small bodies beyond Earth in our solar system today. Many more have completed their journeys or will soon begin. Each spacecraft has a suite of instruments and sensors that provide a treasure trove of data that scientists use to advance our understanding of the past, present, and future of the solar system and universe. As more missions come online and the volume of data increases, it becomes more difficult for scientists to analyze these complex data at the desired pace. There is a need for systems that can rapidly and intelligently extract information from planetary instrument datasets and prioritize the most promising, novel, or relevant observations for scientific analysis. Machine learning methods can serve this need in a variety of ways: by uncovering patterns or features of interest in large, complex datasets that are difficult for humans to analyze; by inspiring new hypotheses based on structure and patterns revealed in data; or by automating tedious or time-consuming tasks. In this dissertation, I present machine learning solutions to enhance the tactical planning process for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and future tactically-planned missions, as well as the science analysis process for archived and ongoing orbital imaging investigations such as the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at Mars. These include detecting novel geology in multispectral images and active nuclear spectroscopy data, analyzing the intrinsic variability in active nuclear spectroscopy data with respect to elemental geochemistry, automating tedious image review processes, and monitoring changes in surface features such as impact craters in orbital remote sensing images. Collectively, this dissertation shows how machine learning can be a powerful tool for facilitating scientific discovery during active exploration missions and in retrospective analysis of archived data.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Effects of fault segmentation, mechanical interaction, and structural complexity on earthquake-generated deformation

Description

Earth's topographic surface forms an interface across which the geodynamic and geomorphic engines interact. This interaction is best observed along crustal margins where topography is created by active faulting and

Earth's topographic surface forms an interface across which the geodynamic and geomorphic engines interact. This interaction is best observed along crustal margins where topography is created by active faulting and sculpted by geomorphic processes. Crustal deformation manifests as earthquakes at centennial to millennial timescales. Given that nearly half of Earth's human population lives along active fault zones, a quantitative understanding of the mechanics of earthquakes and faulting is necessary to build accurate earthquake forecasts. My research relies on the quantitative documentation of the geomorphic expression of large earthquakes and the physical processes that control their spatiotemporal distributions. The first part of my research uses high-resolution topographic lidar data to quantitatively document the geomorphic expression of historic and prehistoric large earthquakes. Lidar data allow for enhanced visualization and reconstruction of structures and stratigraphy exposed by paleoseismic trenches. Lidar surveys of fault scarps formed by the 1992 Landers earthquake document the centimeter-scale erosional landforms developed by repeated winter storm-driven erosion. The second part of my research employs a quasi-static numerical earthquake simulator to explore the effects of fault roughness, friction, and structural complexities on earthquake-generated deformation. My experiments show that fault roughness plays a critical role in determining fault-to-fault rupture jumping probabilities. These results corroborate the accepted 3-5 km rupture jumping distance for smooth faults. However, my simulations show that the rupture jumping threshold distance is highly variable for rough faults due to heterogeneous elastic strain energies. Furthermore, fault roughness controls spatiotemporal variations in slip rates such that rough faults exhibit lower slip rates relative to their smooth counterparts. The central implication of these results lies in guiding the interpretation of paleoseismically derived slip rates that are used to form earthquake forecasts. The final part of my research evaluates a set of Earth science-themed lesson plans that I designed for elementary-level learning-disabled students. My findings show that a combination of concept delivery techniques is most effective for learning-disabled students and should incorporate interactive slide presentations, tactile manipulatives, teacher-assisted concept sketches, and student-led teaching to help learning-disabled students grasp Earth science concepts.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Mechanical Modeling of Natural and Anthropogenic Fluid-Rock Interactions: Volcano Deformation and Induced Seismicity

Description

The dynamic Earth involves feedbacks between the solid crust and both natural and anthropogenic fluid flows. Fluid-rock interactions drive many Earth phenomena, including volcanic unrest, seismic activities, and hydrological responses.

The dynamic Earth involves feedbacks between the solid crust and both natural and anthropogenic fluid flows. Fluid-rock interactions drive many Earth phenomena, including volcanic unrest, seismic activities, and hydrological responses. Mitigating the hazards associated with these activities requires fundamental understanding of the underlying physical processes. Therefore, geophysical monitoring in combination with modeling provides valuable tools, suitable for hazard mitigation and risk management efforts. Magmatic activities and induced seismicity linked to fluid injection are two natural and anthropogenic processes discussed in this dissertation.

Successful forecasting of the timing, style, and intensity of a volcanic eruption is made possible by improved understanding of the volcano life cycle as well as building quantitative models incorporating the processes that govern rock melting, melt ascending, magma storage, eruption initiation, and interaction between magma and surrounding host rocks at different spatial extent and time scale. One key part of such models is the shallow magma chamber, which is generally directly linked to volcano’s eruptive behaviors. However, its actual shape, size, and temporal evolution are often not entirely known. To address this issue, I use space-based geodetic data with high spatiotemporal resolution to measure surface deformation at Kilauea volcano. The obtained maps of InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) deformation time series are exploited with two novel modeling schemes to investigate Kilauea’s shallow magmatic system. Both models can explain the same observation, leading to a new compartment model of magma chamber. Such models significantly advance the understanding of the physical processes associated with Kilauea’s summit plumbing system with potential applications for volcanoes around the world.

The unprecedented increase in the number of earthquakes in the Central and Eastern United States since 2008 is attributed to massive deep subsurface injection of saltwater. The elevated chance of moderate-large damaging earthquakes stemming from increased seismicity rate causes broad societal concerns among industry, regulators, and the public. Thus, quantifying the time-dependent seismic hazard associated with the fluid injection is of great importance. To this end, I investigate the large-scale seismic, hydrogeologic, and injection data in northern Texas for period of 2007-2015 and in northern-central Oklahoma for period of 1995-2017. An effective induced earthquake forecasting model is developed, considering a complex relationship between injection operations and consequent seismicity. I find that the timing and magnitude of regional induced earthquakes are fully controlled by the process of fluid diffusion in a poroelastic medium and thus can be successfully forecasted. The obtained time-dependent seismic hazard model is spatiotemporally heterogeneous and decreasing injection rates does not immediately reduce the probability of an earthquake. The presented framework can be used for operational induced earthquake forecasting. Information about the associated fundamental processes, inducing conditions, and probabilistic seismic hazards has broad benefits to the society.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018