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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Geoscience BC has created a network of seismographs in the Kiskatinaw area to understand how, and why earthquakes can be caused by hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal during natural gas development.

The project installed a dense network of 15 seismographs in the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area in 2020. Data gathered by the project will help inform regulatory practice for British Columbia’s natural gas sector.

Researchers have concluded that real-time, continuous data from a dense array of stations can generate shakemaps, identifying local and seasonal variations in ground motion from seismic events. The seismic data can also identify subsurface structures, aiding in analyzing geological sensitivity to induced seismicity.

“This project has helped to support a large research program at the University of Calgary that is providing new insights into the physical mechanisms of induced seismicity and mitigation of the associated hazards,” said Dr. David Eaton, professor and project lead, University of Calgary.

Following a 91-day embargo period, raw data is released to the public through Incorporated Research Institutes in Seismology. The program, funded by Geoscience BC until July, will be extended until early 2022 with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

“Data from this dense array of sensors adds to data from an existing wider-spaced network to form a more detailed understanding of seismicity in the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area,” said Carlos Salas, Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, Geoscience BC.

“Delivering on the recommendations of the provincial government’s 2019 Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia report, this research is essential to guiding future regulation and the continuous improvement of natural gas development in northeastern British Columbia.”

A full project report, IRIS network raw data, seismic and ground acceleration catalogs, and supplementary maps are available through the Geoscience BC website.

A couple of weeks ago, the Kiskatinaw curved bridge was closed for geotechnical investigations after a landslide occurred under the bridge, impacting one of its piers.

There’s no estimated time of reopening the bridge.


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