Gas Pressure Depletion and Seismicity
Boulder, Colo., USA: Europe’s largest gas field, the Groningen field in the
Netherlands, is widely known for induced subsidence and seismicity caused
by gas pressure depletion and associated compaction of the sandstone
reservoir. Whether compaction is elastic or partly inelastic, as implied by
recent experiments, is key to forecasting system behavior and seismic
In their study published in Geology, Berend Verberne and colleagues sought evidence for a role of inelastic
deformation through comparative microstructural analysis of unique
drill-core, recovered from the seismogenic center of the field in 2015, 50
years after gas production started, versus core recovered before production
(1965). Quartz grain fracturing, crack healing, and stress-induced Dauphiné
twinning are equally developed in the 2015 and 1965 cores, with the only
measurable effect of gas production being enhanced microcracking of sparse
K-feldspar grains in the 2015 core.
Interpreting these grains as strain markers, Verberne and colleagues
suggest that reservoir compaction involves elastic strain plus inelastic
compression of weak clay films within grain contacts.
Drill core from seismically active sandstone gas reservoir yields
clues to internal deformation mechanisms
Berend A. Verberne; Suzanne J.T. Hangx; Ronald P.J. Pijnenburg; Maartje F.
Hamers; Martyn R. Drury; Christopher J. Spiers
CONTACT: Suzanne Hangx, firstname.lastname@example.org, Utrecht University, Dept. of
Earth Sciences, Utrecht.
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