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Sci Adv. 2019 May 1;5(5):eaav7224. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7224. eCollection 2019 May.

Controlling fluid-induced seismicity during a 6.1-km-deep geothermal stimulation in Finland.

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Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 4.2: Geomechanics and Scientific Drilling, Potsdam, Germany.
Free University Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
St1 Deep Heat Oy, Helsinki, Finland.
Arup, London, UK.
University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany.
Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
ASIR Advanced Seismic Instrumentation and Research, Dallas, TX, USA.


We show that near-real-time seismic monitoring of fluid injection allowed control of induced earthquakes during the stimulation of a 6.1-km-deep geothermal well near Helsinki, Finland. A total of 18,160 m3 of fresh water was pumped into crystalline rocks over 49 days in June to July 2018. Seismic monitoring was performed with a 24-station borehole seismometer network. Using near-real-time information on induced-earthquake rates, locations, magnitudes, and evolution of seismic and hydraulic energy, pumping was either stopped or varied-in the latter case, between well-head pressures of 60 and 90 MPa and flow rates of 400 and 800 liters/min. This procedure avoided the nucleation of a project-stopping magnitude M W 2.0 induced earthquake, a limit set by local authorities. Our results suggest a possible physics-based approach to controlling stimulation-induced seismicity in geothermal projects.

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