An efficient probabilistic workflow for estimating induced earthquake parameters in 3D heterogeneous media

La Ode Marzujriban Masfara*, Thomas Cullison, Cornelis Weemstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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We present an efficient probabilistic workflow for the estimation of source parameters of induced seismic events in three-dimensional heterogeneous media. Our workflow exploits a linearized variant of the Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) algorithm. Compared to traditional Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms, HMC is highly efficient in sampling high-dimensional model spaces. Through a linearization of the forward problem around the prior mean (i.e., the “best” initial model), this efficiency can be further improved. We show, however, that this linearization leads to a performance in which the output of an HMC chain strongly depends on the quality of the prior, in particular because not all (induced) earthquake model parameters have a linear relationship with the recordings observed at the surface. To mitigate the importance of an accurate prior, we integrate the linearized HMC scheme into a workflow that (i) allows for a weak prior through linearization around various (initial) centroid locations, (ii) is able to converge to the mode containing the model with the (global) minimum misfit by means of an iterative HMC approach, and (iii) uses variance reduction as a criterion to include the output of individual Markov chains in the estimation of the posterior probability. Using a three-dimensional heterogeneous subsurface model of the Groningen gas field, we simulate an induced earthquake to test our workflow. We then demonstrate the virtue of our workflow by estimating the event's centroid (three parameters), moment tensor (six parameters), and the earthquake's origin time. Using the synthetic case, we find that our proposed workflow is able to recover the posterior probability of these source parameters rather well, even when the prior model information is inaccurate, imprecise, or both inaccurate and imprecise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1309-1325
Number of pages17
JournalSolid Earth
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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