Pore pressure behavior at the shut-in phase and causality of large induced seismicity at Basel, Switzerland

Y. Mukuhira, C. Dinske, H. Asanuma, T. Ito, M. O. Häring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Induced seismicity with unexpectedly large magnitude often occurs after shut-in or end of stimulation, generating concerns at the end of stimulation. We investigated the physical mechanism of large-magnitude induced seismicity during shut-in following the hydraulic stimulation at Basel, Switzerland. Larger postinjection events occurred at the periphery of the seismic cloud. We estimated the pore pressure required to cause shear slip using Coulomb failure criteria from stress information, geometry of the fault planes of microseismic events, and a constant coefficient of friction. Time series analysis of pore pressure distribution indicated that pore pressure migrated to the far field even after shut-in. Redistribution of pore pressure at shut-in brought sufficient pore pressure increase to induce seismicity in the peripheral region. After shut-in, the pore pressure gradient away from the well lessened and eventually pressure became uniform. These observations suggest that the higher pore pressure, which remained in the vicinity of the injection point, shifted to the farthest field. Shut-in pressure migration caused uniform pore pressure distribution at the edge of the seismic zone. Shut-in pressure destabilized a large part of the fault located at the edge of the seismic cloud, resulting in the shear slip of a large section of the fault. Meanwhile, during stimulation, only some parts of the fault entered the critical state because of the pressure gradient. The resulting shear slip on that specific part causes moderate magnitude events at most.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-435
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1


  • large induced seismicity
  • physical mechanism
  • pore pressure
  • shut-in pressure
  • stress state


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