Northeast BC Seismic Research

Lead Researcher(s):  BC Seismic Research Consortium

Project ID:  2012-SEIS01

Key Research Organization(s):  BC Seismic Research Consortium

Project Location:  Northeast BC

Strategic Focus Area:  Energy-Oil and Gas


The BC Seismic Research Consortium was established in 2012 by Geoscience BC, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC). It followed a recommendation from the BCOGC in response to concerns regarding induced seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing in the Horn River Basin.

Initially funded by Geoscience BC and industry (CAPP, via the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society), project activities began with Geoscience BC and industry sharing the cost and maintenance of the seismic stations, with additional financial and technical support coming from the BCOGC and Natural Resources Canada, respectively. The Yukon Government was added as a consortium partner in 2016. The consortium is managed by a joint steering and technical committee comprising of representatives from each of the consortium partners.

The Need

In the report Investigation of Observed Seismicity in the Horn River Basin, the BCOGC recommended augmenting the Canadian National Seismographic Network (CNSN) to improve knowledge of the effects of induced seismicity by monitoring seismic events created by oil and gas operations that are related to hydraulic fracturing and fluid disposal.

Project Goals

This project aims to:

  • Monitor seismic events from oil and gas activities in the region;
  • Provide publicly available information that also enables the energy sector and the regulator to continue the safe and responsible development of BC’s natural gas resources and;
  • Increase oversight of induced low-magnitude seismic events.

Project Benefits

Data regarding seismic events in Northeast BC are being used by the BCOGC for ongoing review and development for responsible hydraulic fracturing and fluid disposal operations. This information has also been used by the oil and gas sector to improve completion practices and is also used by local communities and First Nations. A fundamental goal of BCOGC is to understand and quantify the emerging seismic hazards from oil and gas activities.


Eight stations were installed in the first couple years of the program, to support two existing stations. Since then, two additional stations have been added in BC, and the addition of the Yukon Government to the Consortium in the last year has added an additional five stations near the Yukon/BC border.

What was found?

As the network has expanded across the Liard Basin, Horn River Basin and Montney play, the determination of earthquake epicentres and magnitude resolution in Northeast BC has greatly improved. A recent internal study by the Consortium-sponsored seismologsist suggests the minimum detectable earthquake magnitude in the region is 1.4–2.4, an improvement of 0.2 in detectable magnitudes from just over a year ago. All events registered by the network are published on the NRCan website here.