Localizing weak microseismic events using transfer learning with a deep neural network

Nicolas André Vinard*, Guy Gérard Drijkoningen, Dirk Jacob Verschuur, Dmitry Alexandrov, Leo Eisner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Downloads (Pure)


Retrieving accurate microseismic source locations induced by hydraulic-fracturing operations is an important step to gain insights into the hydraulically stimulated reservoir volume. Recently, deep neural networks have been proposed that directly recover source locations from the seismic waveforms. The optimal performance of the proposed deep neural networks usually requires large training sets. The need for a large training set can be circumvented if a previously trained deep neural network can be used to start the training process with its weights instead of randomly initialized weights. These weights can then be fine-tuned using a smaller training set, which is also known as transfer learning. In this work, we implement a transfer learning workflow to update the weights of a deep neural network that was initially trained on a large synthetic dataset to localize microseismic events. We present two methods of processing, namely one post-monitoring mode and one continuous mode where the processing takes place during the monitoring period. We apply the methods to field data from a hydraulic fracturing site in Texas, USA. In the first scenario, a subset of the field data from the entire monitoring period is used to update the weights of the deep neural network, which is then applied to the remaining data resulting in mean and median distances of 227 and 182 m, respectively, compared to the results of a good localization method. In the second scenario, the deep neural network is updated daily with previously detected and located events and applied to the events detected the following day. Since the observed data used for training generally do not cover a wide range of source locations, we enrich the training set with synthetic data. The addition of synthetics for transfer learning ensures that the updated deep neural network provides accurate source locations for events with locations far from locations used during transfer learning. Transfer learning combining synthetic and real data performs significantly better (more consistent) locations than transfer learning without synthetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1227
Number of pages16
JournalGeophysical Prospecting
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • 3D
  • Microseismic monitoring
  • Neural network

Cite this