Microseismic image-domain velocity inversion: Marcellus Shale case study

Ben Witten, Jeffrey Shragge

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Seismic monitoring at injection wells relies on generating accurate location estimates of detected (micro-) seismicity. Event location estimates assist in optimizing well and stage spacings, assessing potential hazards, and establishing causation of larger events. The largest impediment to generating accurate location estimates is an accurate velocity model. For surface-based monitoring, the model should capture 3D velocity variation, yet rarely is the laterally heterogeneous nature of the velocity field captured. Another complication for surface monitoring is that the data often suffer from low signal-to-noise levels, making velocity updating with established techniques difficult due to uncertainties in the arrival picks.We use surface-monitored field data to demonstrate that a new method requiring no arrival picking can improve microseismic locations by jointly locating events and updating 3D P- and S-wave velocity models through image-domain adjoint-state tomography. This approach creates a complementary set of images for each chosen event through wave-equation propagation and correlating combinations of Pand S-wavefield energy. The method updates the velocity models to optimize the focal consistency of the images through adjoint- state inversion. We have determined the functionality of the method using a surface array of 192 3C geophones over a hydraulic stimulation in the Marcellus Shale. Applying the proposed joint location and velocity-inversion approach significantly improves the estimated locations. To assess the event location accuracy, we have developed a new measure of inconsistency derived from the complementary images. By this measure, the location inconsistency decreases by 75%. The method has implications for improving the reliability of microseismic interpretation with low signal-to-noise data, which may increase hydrocarbon extraction efficiency and improve risk assessment from injection-related seismicity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)KS99-KS112
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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