Laboratory study on the effect of stress cycling pattern and rate on seismicity evolution

M. Naderloo*, A. Veltmeijer, J. D. Jansen, A. Barnhoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Recent laboratory and field studies suggest that temporal variations in injection patterns (e.g., cyclic injection) might trigger less seismicity than constant monotonic injection. This study presents results from uniaxial compressive experiments performed on Red Felser sandstone samples providing new information on the effect of stress pattern and rate on seismicity evolution. Red Felser sandstone samples were subjected to three stress patterns: cyclic recursive, cyclic progressive (CP), and monotonic stress. Three different stress rates (displacement controlled) were also applied: low, medium, and high rates of 10−4 mm/s, 5 × 10−4 mm/s, and 5 × 10−3 mm/s, respectively. Acoustic emission (AE) waveforms were recorded throughout the experiments using 11 AE transducers placed around the sample. Microseismicity analysis shows that (i) Cyclic stress patterns and especially cyclic progressive ones are characterized by a high number of AE events and lower maximum AE amplitude, (ii) among the three different stress patterns, the largest b-value (slope of the log frequency-magnitude distribution) resulted from the cyclic progressive (CP) stress pattern, (iii) by reducing the stress rate, the maximum AE energy and final mechanical strength both decrease significantly. In addition, stress rate remarkably affects the detailed AE signature of the events classified by the distribution of events in the average frequency (AF)—rise angle (RA) space. High stress rates increase the number of events with low AF and high RA signatures. Considering all elements of the AE analysis, it can be concluded that applying cyclic stress patterns in combination with low-stress rates may potentially lead to a more favourable induced seismicity effect in subsurface-related injection operations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
Number of pages18
JournalGeomechanics and Geophysics for Geo-Energy and Geo-Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Acoustic emission
  • Cyclic stress
  • Induced seismicity mitigation
  • Stress rate
  • Stress scheme


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