Geoscience BC Energy Research Provides Detailed Open-Access Seismic Data

Vancouver, BC – June 17, 2021 – A Geoscience BC energy research project has established a closely spaced network of seismographs in the Kiskatinaw area of British Columbia’s Northeast Region to help understand in more detail how and why, in certain circumstances, earthquakes can be caused by hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal during natural gas development.

In 2020, the project installed and monitored a dense network of 15 seismographs – highly sensitive instruments that record seismic waves – in the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area (KSMMA) northwest of Dawson Creek. Initial data collected by the network will inform regulatory practice and guide continuous improvement of BC’s natural gas sector.

University of Calgary professor and project lead Dr. David Eaton said: “This project has helped to support a large research program at the University of Calgary that is providing new insights into the physical mechanisms of induced seismicity and mitigation of the associated hazards.”

Data collected since January 2020 can be used, for example, to generate maps of ground motion intensity known as shakemaps. These data can also be used to improve understanding of local and seasonal variations in ground motion due to seismic events. The researchers also found that the new data can help identify and map subsurface structures, which helps to improve analysis of geological susceptibility to induced seismicity.

Raw data collected by the network is released to the public through Incorporated Research Institutes in Seismology (IRIS) following a 91-day embargo period. Geoscience BC funding will finish in July 2021, with additional funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada extending the research program and allowing the seismograph network to be maintained until early 2022.

Geoscience BC Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Carlos Salas said: “Data from this dense array of sensors adds to data from an existing wider-spaced network to form a more detailed understanding of seismicity in the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area. Delivering on the recommendations of the provincial government’s 2019 Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia report, this research is essential to guiding future regulation and the continuous improvement of natural gas development in northeastern British Columbia.”

Final deliverables for the project include a project report, raw data through the IRIS network, seismic and peak ground acceleration catalogs, and supplementary maps, available through the Geoscience BC website.

Accessing Data
View the project pages (2019-005) for more information.

View project page             View project in Earth Science Viewer

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For more information, please contact:
Richard Truman
Geoscience BC