Location and Felt Reports for the 25 April 2010 mbLg 3.9 Earthquake Near Alice, Texas: Was it Induced by Petroleum Production?

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Frohlich, Cliff
Glidewell, Jennifer
Brunt, Michael

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This study examines seismograms and felt reports for the 25 April 2010 Alice, Texas, earthquake and explores its possible relationship with gas and oil production in the Stratton field. We identified P arrivals at seven broadband stations situated within similar to 100 km of the epicentral region and determined a location of 27.72 degrees N, 97.95 degrees W, about 11 km east of the location reported by the National Earthquake Information Center but coincident with the region of highest intensity (modified Mercalli intensity V-VI) felt reports. We compare arrivals for observed secondary P and S arrivals with predictions from a published Gulf Coast velocity model. At nearby stations, the secondary arrivals are much stronger than primary arrivals; the arrival times and the presence of high-amplitude phases traveling at the Love-wave velocity of the uppermost model layer suggest the focal depth was shallow, 3 km or less. This places the 2010 hypocenter approximately along the mapped trace of the Vicksburg fault zone and at the depth of the Frio formation, the principal productive member in the Stratton field, which has produced at least 2.7 trillion cubic feet of gas and about 100 million barrels of oil since production commenced in 1938. We conclude it is plausible, although not proven definitively, that production in the Stratton field contributed to the occurrence of the 2010 Alice earthquake and an earlier similar earthquake that occurred on 24 March 1997.


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Frohlich, Cliff, Jennifer Glidewell, and Michael Brunt. "Location and Felt Reports for the 25 April 2010 mbLg 3.9 Earthquake near Alice, Texas: Was it Induced by Petroleum Production?." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 102, No. 2 (Apr., 2012): 457-466.