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Discrepancy in Magnitude Estimation in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

Discrepancy in Magnitude Estimation in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin


The exploitation of hydrocarbon resources has propelled human technological progress, yet it is not devoid of risks. Among these risks, induced seismicity has emerged as a significant concern, necessitating proactive measures to mitigate potential risks to nearby communities and infrastructure.

To manage the risks of induced seismicity, regulatory agencies have implemented traffic light protocols as a preemptive monitoring tool. These protocols outline responses to be taken accordingly when seismic events occur. For instance, the Alberta Energy Regulator has established traffic light protocols for the Fox Creek area, delineating response thresholds based on earthquake magnitudes. Similar protocols are also in place in British Columbia, overseen by the BC Energy Regulator.

We conducted a comprehensive analysis of the discrepancies in magnitude calculation performed by federal and provincial agencies across the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). The study revealed that using inappropriate magnitude formulas, which do not account for seismic wave attenuation within the WCSB, result in a significant overestimation of seismic event magnitudes leading to an inflated number of events triggering red-light alerts compared to appropriate magnitude formulas calibrated for the WCSB. These findings point to the unnecessary economic consequences when exaggerated magnitude values are used in the regulatory process and underscores the need for adopting proper magnitude scales for seismic monitoring in the WCSB.

As the demand for hydrocarbon resources persists and new technologies such as CO2 injection emerge to address climate change, finding solutions that prioritize both economic development and public safety is paramount. Continued scientific research and collaboration are essential in navigating these complex challenges and ensuring the sustainable management of resources in regions like the WCSB. We are committed to conducting pioneering research and leveraging our expertise for innovative solutions. If you're seeking collaboration on your project, we're ready to assist. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together to achieve your goals.