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AAPG Eastern Section Meeting

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Monitoring Previous HitInducedNext Hit Microseismicity in the Rome Trough, Eastern Kentucky U.S.A.


The Cambrian Rogersville Shale is a part of a recently discovered petroleum system in the fault-bounded Rome Trough of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. In Kentucky, the Rogersville Shale ranges in depth from approximately 5,000 ft to 10,000 ft below surface. Oil and gas from this system can be produced only with high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Subsurface injection of the large volumes of wastewater produced from similar operations and, less frequently, fracking, has led to cases of Previous HitinducedNext Hit Previous HitseismicityNext Hit in other locations. Although fracking operations and wastewater injection are ongoing in eastern Kentucky, no related Previous HitseismicityTop has been detected in the area. The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS), with Cimarex Energy, the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Nanometrics Inc. has begun a multi-year, collaborative monitoring project to establish baseline microseismic data in the Rome Trough, focusing on areas of completed and planned oil and gas test wells in the Rogersville and clustered wastewater injection wells.

Currently, twelve broadband seismic stations have been deployed. Two more stations are planned for installation this year to yield an average station spacing of 25 km (~15 mi) in the project area. Existing University of Kentucky and USGS-adopted EarthScope seismic stations are contributing to the network. Data are wirelessly telemetered and acquired in real-time at KGS and real-time event location have been established. Four local (<20 mi) earthquakes have been detected and located using this network since June, 2015. None of these events was proximal to any operational disposal or oil and gas wells in the project area, nor did any occur in the Rome Trough of eastern Kentucky.