Shear-wave splitting and reservoir crack characterization: the Coso geothermal field

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Journal Article: Shear-wave splitting and reservoir crack characterization: the Coso geothermal field

Abstract
This paper aims to improve current understanding of the subsurface fracture system in the Coso geothermal field, located in east-central California. The Coso reservoir is in active economic development, so that knowledge of the subsurface fracture system is of vital importance for an accurate evaluation of its geothermal potential and day-to-day production. To detect the geometry and density of fracture systems we applied the shear-wave splitting technique to a large number of high-quality seismograms from local microearthquakes recorded by a permanent, 16-station, down-hole, 3-component seismic array running at 480 samples/s. The analysis of shear-wave splitting (seismic birefringence) provides parameters directly related to the strike of the subsurface fractures and their density (number of cracks per unit volume), and, consequently, is an important technique to outline zones of high permeability. Three major fracture directions N10-30W, N0-20E, and N40-50E, of which the first and the second are the most prominent, were identified from the seismograms recorded by the 16-station down-hole array. All orientations are consistent with the known strike of local sets of faults and fractures in local wells and at the surface, as well as with previous analyses of seismic anisotropy in the region. The high quality of the recordings has allowed us to launch an unprecedented investigation into the characteristics of the temporal variations in crack polarization and crack density in a producing geothermal environment. Preliminary results point to significant temporal changes in shear-wave time delays, probably influenced by temporal changes in crack density within a period of 5 years (1996-2000). They are tentatively interpreted as due to a local ~3% increase in shear-wave velocity in the southwestern part of the field during 1999.

Authors 
Vlahovic, G.; Elkibbi, M.; Rial and J.A.  








Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1/15/2003





DOI 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0377-0273(02)00368-2


 

Citation

Vlahovic, G.; Elkibbi, M.; Rial, J.A.  . 1/15/2003. Shear-wave splitting and reservoir crack characterization: the Coso geothermal field. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .


Related Geothermal Exploration Activities
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Areas (1)
  1. Coso Geothermal Area
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