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Home Energy News New Research Grades Earthquake Risk in Northeastern BC’s Montney Play

New Research Grades Earthquake Risk in Northeastern BC’s Montney Play


VANCOUVER, B.C. – Geoscience B.C. has released a report and maps to provide new information about where there is an increased potential of amplification of ground motion from earthquakes associated with hydraulic fracturing and fluid disposal in northeastern British Columbia’s Montney Play.

According to Geoscience B.C., the research can be used to better anticipate movement at the surface.

The report focuses on understanding where seismic waves can, in some situations, be amplified due to local shallow geological conditions.

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A team of researchers from Monahan Petroleum Consulting, Quaternary Geosciences Inc., Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd., Frontier Geosciences Inc. and the University of Victoria compiled technical information from surface geology maps and boreholes.

The team produced a preliminary map of the soils, sands and gravels in the Peace region, and indicated which units are more likely to amplify seismic ground motions.

The report grades areas in the Montney development area according to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program standard developed by United States federal agencies.

Project Lead Patrick Monahan, of Monahan Petroleum Consulting, says seismic activity has increased due to hydraulic fracturing and fluid injection associated with natural gas production.

“Hydraulic fracturing rarely causes earthquakes that are felt at surface, according to data from regulators. Nonetheless, understanding where amplified seismic ground motions are more likely to occur is important for public safety and protection of infrastructure. Seismicity has increased in northeastern BC in recent years due to hydraulic fracturing and fluid injection associated with natural gas production. This project identifies areas where amplified ground motions could occur.”

Geoscience B.C. Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Carlos Salas, says this new research can help improve industry processes and protocols to manage felt events.

“This new research can help industry, regulators, communities and First Nations better understand areas with the potential of increased ground motion associated with natural gas extraction in the Peace River Regional District, thereby improving industry processes and protocols to manage felt events.”

The report’s recommendations include collecting more high-quality geotechnical and other borehole data to refine geotechnical mapping and acquiring additional shear-wave velocity data to improve models of the subsurface.

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