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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Hemami, B., Masouleh, S. F., and Ghassemi, A. (2021). 3D geomechanical modeling of the response of the Wilzetta Fault to saltwater disposal. Earth Planet. Phys., 5(6), 559–580.

2021, 5(6): 559-580. doi: 10.26464/epp2021054


3D geomechanical modeling of the response of the Wilzetta Fault to saltwater disposal

Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA

Corresponding author: Ahmad Ghassemi,

Received Date: 2021-12-27
Web Publishing Date: 2021-10-26

From 2009 to 2017, parts of Central America experienced marked increase in the number of small to moderate-sized earthquakes. For example, three significant earthquakes (~Mw 5) occurred near Prague, Oklahoma, in the U. S. in 2011. On 6 Nov 2011, an Mw 5.7 earthquake occurred in Prague, central Oklahoma with a sequence of aftershocks. The seismic activity has been attributed to slip on the Wilzetta fault system. This study provides a 3D fully coupled poroelastic analysis (using FLAC3D) of the Wilzetta fault system and its response to saltwater injection in the underpressured subsurface layers, especially the Arbuckle group and the basement, to evaluate the conditions that might have led to the increased seismicity. Given the data-limited nature of the problem, we have considered multiple plausible scenarios, and use the available data to evaluate the hydromechanical response of the faults of interest in the study area. Numerical simulations show that the injection of large volumes of fluid into the Arbuckle group tends to bring the part of the Wilzetta faults in Arbuckle group and basement into near-critical conditions.

Key words: poroelasticity; Oklahoma seismicity; Arbuckle group; saltwater injection; Wilzetta fault; 2011 Prague earthquake sequence

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3D geomechanical modeling of the response of the Wilzetta Fault to saltwater disposal

Behzad Hemami, Shahla Feizi Masouleh, Ahmad Ghassemi