Seismicity at the Castor gas reservoir driven by pore pressure diffusion and asperities loading

Nat Commun. 2021 Aug 10;12(1):4783. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24949-1.


The 2013 seismic sequence at the Castor injection platform offshore Spain, including three earthquakes of magnitude 4.1, occurred during the initial filling of a planned Underground Gas Storage facility. The Castor sequence is one of the most important cases of induced seismicity in Europe and a rare example of seismicity induced by gas injection into a depleted oil field. Here we use advanced seismological techniques applied to an enhanced waveform dataset, to resolve the geometry of the faults, develop a greatly enlarged seismicity catalog and record details of the rupture kinematics. The sequence occurred by progressive fault failure and unlocking, with seismicity initially migrating away from the injection points, triggered by pore pressure diffusion, and then back again, breaking larger asperities loaded to higher stress and producing the largest earthquakes. Seismicity occurred almost exclusively on a secondary fault, located below the reservoir, dipping opposite from the reservoir bounding fault.