Imperial College London

Professor Julian J Bommer

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Senior Research Investigator
 
 
 
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Contact

 

j.bommer Website CV

 
 
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Location

 

Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
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258 results found

Kruiver PP, Pefkos M, Meijles E, Aalberberg G, Campman X, van der Veen W, Ooms-Asshoff K, Bommer J, Rodriguez-Marek A, Pinho R, Crowley H, Cavalieri F, Correia AA, van Elk Jet al., 2021, Incorporating dwelling mounds into induced seismic risk analysis for the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands, Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, ISSN: 1570-761X

In order to inform decision-making regarding measures to mitigate the impact of induced seismicityin the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands, a comprehensive seismic risk model has beendeveloped. Starting with gas production scenarios and the consequent reservoir compaction, themodel generates synthetic earthquake catalogues which are deployed in Monte Carlo analyses,predicting ground motions at a buried reference rock horizon that are combined with nonlinearamplification factors to estimate response spectral accelerations at the surface. These motions arecombined with fragility functions defined for the exposed buildings throughout the region to estimatedamage levels, which in turn are transformed to risk in terms of injury through consequence functions.Several older and potentially vulnerable buildings are located on dwelling mounds that wereconstructed from soils and organic material as a flood defence. These anthropogenic structures arenot included in the soil profile models used to develop the amplification factors and hence theirinfluence has not been included in the risk analyses to date. To address this gap in the model,concerted studies have been identified to characterize the dwelling mounds. These include new shearwave velocity measurements that have enabled dynamic site response analyses to determine themodification of ground shaking due to the presence of the mound. A scheme has then been developedto incorporate the dwelling mounds into the risk calculations, which included an assessment ofwhether the soil-structure interaction effects for buildings founded on the mounds requiredmodification of the seismic fragility functions.

Journal article

Verdon J, Bommer J, 2021, Comment on "Activation Rate of Seismicity for Hydraulic Fracture Wells in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin" by Ghofrani and Atkinson (2020), Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, ISSN: 0037-1106

Journal article

Baker JW, Bradley BA, Stafford P, 2021, Seismic Hazard and Risk Analysis, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9781108425056

Book

Rodriguez-Marek A, Bommer J, Youngs RR, Crespo MJ, Stafford PJ, Bahrampouri Met al., 2021, Capturing epistemic uncertainty in site response, Earthquake Spectra, Vol: 37, Pages: 921-936, ISSN: 8755-2930

The incorporation of local amplification factors determined through site response analyses has become standard practice in site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA). Another indispensable feature of the current state-of-practice in site-specific PSHA is the identification and quantification of all epistemic uncertainties that influence the final hazard estimates. Consequently, logic trees are constructed not only for seismic source characteristics and ground-motion models (GMMs) but also for the site amplification factors, the latter generally characterized by branches for alternative shear-wave velocity (VS) profiles. However, in the same way that branch weights on alternative GMMs can give rise to unintentionally narrow distributions of predicted ground-motion amplitudes, the distribution of amplification factors obtained from a small number of weighted VS profiles will often be quite narrow at some oscillator frequencies. We propose an alternative approach to capturing epistemic uncertainty in site response in order to avoid such unintentionally constricted distributions of amplification factors using more complete logic-trees for site response analyses. Nodes are included for all the factors that influence the calculated amplification factors, which may include shallow VS profiles, deeper VS profiles, depth of impedance contrasts, low-strain soil damping, and choice of modulus reduction and damping curves. Site response analyses are then executed for all branch combinations to generate a large number 2 of frequency-dependent amplification factors. Finally, these are re-sampled as a discrete distribution with enough branches to capture the underlying distribution of amplification factors (AFs). While this approach improves the representation of epistemic uncertainty in the dynamic site response characteristics, modeling uncertainty in the AFs is not automatically captured in this way, for which reason it is also proposed that a minimum level of e

Journal article

Edwards B, Crowley H, Pinho R, Bommer Jet al., 2021, Seismic hazard and risk due to induced earthquakes at a shale gas site, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol: 111, Pages: 875-897, ISSN: 0037-1106

Hydraulic fracturing of the first shale gas well at Preston New Road (PNR), Blackpool, United Kingdom, in late 2018, marked the end of a 7 yr United Kingdom‐wide moratorium on fracking. Despite a strict traffic‐light system being in place, seismic events up to ML 2.9 were induced. The ML 2.9 event was accompanied by reports of damage and was assigned European Macroseismic Scale 1998 (EMS‐98) intensity VI by the British Geological Survey. The moratorium was subsequently reinstated in late 2019. The study here presents a pseudo‐probabilistic seismic risk analysis and is applied to the larger of the induced events at PNR, in addition to hypothetical larger events. Initially, site characterization analysis is undertaken using direct and indirect methods. These analyses show low‐velocity deposits dominate the region (⁠VS30¯¯¯¯¯¯=227  m/s⁠). We test existing ground‐motion prediction equations using spatially dependent VS30 to determine applicability to the recorded waveform data and produce a referenced empirical model. Predicting median and 84th percentile peak ground velocity fields, we subsequently determine macroseismic intensities. Epicentral intensities of IV, IV–V, and VI–VII are predicted for the observed ML 2.9, and hypothetical ML 3.5 and 4.5 scenarios, respectively. A probabilistic analysis of damage is performed for 3500 ground‐motion realizations (⁠2.1≤ML≤4.5⁠) using the OpenQuake‐engine, with nonlinear dynamic analysis undertaken to define building fragility. Based on these analyses, the onset of cosmetic damage (DS1) in terms of median risk is observed for the ML 2.9 event. Mean modeled occurrences of DS1 and DS2 (minor structural damage), 75 and 10 instances, respectively, are consistent with reported damage (DS1:97, DS2:50). Significant occurrences (⁠median≥30 buildings) of DS2, DS3, and DS4 (minor to major structural damage) are likely for ML 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 events, respectively. However

Journal article

Bommer J, Verdon JP, 2021, Green, yellow, red, or out of the blue? An assessment of Traffic Light Schemes to mitigate the impact of hydraulic fracturing-induced seismicity, Journal of Seismology, Vol: 25, Pages: 301-326, ISSN: 1383-4649

Mitigating hydraulic fracturing-induced seismicity (HF-IS) poses a challenge for shale gas companies and regulators alike. The use of Traffic Light Schemes (TLSs) is the most common way by which the hazards associated with HF-IS are mitigated. In this study, we discuss the implicit risk mitigation objectives of TLSs and explain the advantages of magnitude as the fundamental parameter to characterise induced seismic hazard. We go on to investigate some of the key assumptions on which TLSs are based, namely that magnitudes evolve relatively gradually from green to yellow to red thresholds (as opposed to larger events occurring “out-of-the-blue”), and that trailing event magnitudes do not increase substantially after injection stops. We compile HF-IS datasets from around the world, including the USA, Canada, the UK, and China, and track the temporal evolution of magnitudes in order to evaluate the extent to which magnitude jumps (i.e. sharp increases in magnitude from preceding events within a sequence) and trailing events occur. We find in the majority of cases magnitude jumps are less than 2 units. One quarter of cases experienced a post-injection magnitude increase, with the largest being 1.6. Trailing event increases generally occurred soon after injection, with most cases showing no increase in magnitude more than a few days after then end of injection. Hence, the effective operation of TLSs may require red-light thresholds to be set as much as two magnitude units below the threshold that the scheme is intended to avoid.

Journal article

Bommer J, Stafford PJ, 2020, Selecting ground-motion models for site-specific PSHA: adaptability vs applicability, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol: 110, Pages: 2801-2815, ISSN: 0037-1106

Capturing the center, the body and the range of ground-motion predictions is an indispensableelement of site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analyses (PSHA), for which the logic tree isthe ubiquitous tool in current practice. The criteria for selecting the ground-motion models (GMMs)used in such studies have generally been focused on their potential applicability to the region andsite for which the PSHA is being conducted. However, except for applications within the fewregions with abundant ground-motion databases, it will rarely be the case that GMMs can beidentified which are perfectly calibrated to the characteristics of the target study region in termsof source and path properties. A good match between the generic site amplification model withinthe GMM and the site-specific dynamic response characteristics is equally, if not more, unlikely.Consequently, adjustments are likely to be made to the selected GMMs to render them moreapplicable to the target region and site. Empirical adjustments for host-to-target region sourcedifferences using local recordings are unlikely to be robust unless these have been generated byearthquakes from a wide range of magnitudes. Empirical adjustments for site characteristics areimpossible unless there are recordings from the target site. Therefore, the preferred approachmakes parametric adjustments to empirical GMMs, isolating each host-to-target difference to mapthe individual contributions to the epistemic uncertainty. For such an approach to be applied, theemphasis moves from selecting GMMs on the basis of their applicability to focusing on theiramenability to being adjusted to the target region and site. An adaptable equation is characterizedby well constrained host-region source, path and site characteristics and a functional form inwhich response spectral accelerations scale with source, path and site characteristics in a mannersimilar to the scaling implicit in stochastic simulations based on Fourier amplitude spectra.

Journal article

Bommer J, Green RA, Stafford PJ, Maurer BW, Kruiver PP, Edwards B, Rodriguez-Marek A, de Lange G, Oates SJ, Storck T, Omidi P, Bourne SJ, van Elk JFet al., 2020, Liquefaction hazard of the Groningen region of the Netherlands due to induced seismicity, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol: 146, Pages: 04020068-1-04020068-15, ISSN: 0733-9410

The operator of the Groningen gas field is leading an effort to quantify the seismic hazard and riskof the region due to induced earthquakes, includingoverseeing one of the most comprehensive liquefaction hazard studies performedgloballyto date. Due tothe unique characteristics of the seismic hazard and the geologic deposits in Groningen, efforts first focused on developing relationships for a Groningen-specific liquefaction triggering model. The liquefaction hazard was then assessedusing a Monte Carlo method, wherein a range of credibleevent scenarios were considered in computingliquefaction damage-potentialhazard curves. Thiseffort entailed the use of a regional stochastic seismic source model,ground motion prediction equation,site response model,and geologic model that were developed as part of the broader regional seismic hazardassessment.“No-to-Minor Surficial Liquefaction Manifestations”arepredicted for mostsites across the study areafor a 75-year return period. The only sites where “Moderate Surficial Liquefaction Manifestations” are predicted are in the town of Zandeweer, with only some of the sites in the townbeing predicted to experience this severityof liquefactionfor thisreturn period.

Journal article

Bommer J, Montaldo-Falero V, 2020, Virtual fault ruptures in area source zones for PSHA: are they always needed?, Seismological Research Letters, Vol: 91, Pages: 2310-2319, ISSN: 0895-0695

Seismic source models for probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA), except when using zoneless approaches based directly on the earthquake catalog, invariably include area‐source zones, even if active fault sources are modeled explicitly. Because most modern ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs) employ source‐to‐site distance metrics defined relative to extended fault ruptures rather than to the epicenter or hypocenter, it becomes necessary to generate virtual fault ruptures within the area‐source zones to enable calculation of the correct distance of each earthquake scenario from the site of interest. For a site‐specific PSHA, the work of defining the virtual rupture characteristics such as strike, dip, and style of faulting, for more distant source zones, and the computational effort of simulating these ruptures for each earthquake scenario in the hazard calculations, may be unnecessary. Beyond a certain distance from the site, it can be demonstrated that the loss of accuracy introduced by modeling the individual earthquake scenarios as point sources rather than as extended ruptures is usually sufficiently small to allow the distance metric in the GMPEs to be treated as epicentral or hypocentral distance. Such simplifications can significantly increase the efficiency of the hazard calculations and also relieve the seismic source modelers of considerable effort to characterize virtual ruptures far beyond the host zone of the site. Treating earthquake scenarios in the more remote source zones as points also brings the additional benefit of avoiding problems that can arise with the largest magnitude scenarios leading to ruptures that approach the site in cases for which the ruptures are not constrained to remain within the source boundaries.

Journal article

Nievas CI, Bommer J, Crowley H, van Elk J, Ntinalexis M, Sangirardi Met al., 2020, A database of damaging small-to-medium magnitude earthquakes, Journal of Seismology, Vol: 24, Pages: 263-292, ISSN: 1383-4649

Interest in small-to-medium magnitude earthquakes and their potential consequences has increased significantly in recent years, mostly due to the occurrence of some unusually damaging small events, the development of seismic risk assessment methodologies for existing building stock, and the recognition of the potential risk of induced seismicity. As part of a clear ongoing effort of the earthquake engineering community to develop knowledge on the risk posed by smaller events, aglobal database of earthquakes withmomentmagnitudes in the range from 4.0 to 5.5 for which damage and/or casualties have been reportedhas been compiledand is made publicly available. Thetwo main purposeswereto facilitate studies onthe potential for earthquakes in thismagnitude range to cause material damage and to carry out a statistical study to characterise the frequency with which earthquakes of this size cause damage and/or casualties(published separately). The present paper describes the data sources and processfollowedfor the compilation of the database, whileproviding critical discussions on the challenges encounteredand decisions made, which are of relevance for itsinterpretation and use.The geographic, temporal and magnitude distributions of the 1,958 earthquakesthat make up the databaseare presented alongside thegeneral statistics on damage and casualties, noting that these stem from a variety of sources of differing reliability.Despite its inherent limitations, we believe it is an important contributionto the understanding of the extent of the consequences that may arise from earthquakes in the magnitude range of study.

Journal article

Bommer J, NIevas CI, Helen C, van Elk Jet al., 2020, Global occurrence and impact of small-to-medium magnitude earthquakes: A statistical analysis, Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-35, ISSN: 1570-761X

Despite their much smaller individual contribution to the global counts of casualties and damage than theirlarger counterparts, earthquakes with moment magnitudes Mw in the range 4.0-5.5 may dominate seismichazard and risk in areas of low overall seismicity, a statement that is particularly true for regions whereanthropogenically-induced earthquakes are predominant. With the risk posed by these earthquakescausing increasing alarm in certain areas of the globe, it is of interest to determine what proportion ofearthquakes in this magnitude range that occur sufficiently close to population or the built environment doactually result in damage and/or casualties. For this purpose, a global catalogue of potentially damagingevents—that is, earthquakes deemed as potentially capable of causing damage or casualties based on aseries of pre-defined criteria—has been generated and contrasted against a database of reportedlydamaging small-to-medium earthquakes compiled in parallel to this work. This paper discusses the criteriaand methodology followed to define such a set of potentially damaging events, from the issues inherent toearthquake catalogue compilation to the definition of criteria to establish how much potential exposure issufficient to consider each earthquake a threat. The resulting statistics show that, on average, around 2% ofall potentially-damaging shocks were actually reported as damaging, though the proportion variessignificantly in time as a consequence of the impact of accessibility to data on damage and seismicity ingeneral. Inspection of the years believed to be more complete suggests that a value of around 4 to 5%might be a more realistic figure.

Journal article

Bahrampouri M, Rodriguez-Marek A, Bommer JJ, 2019, Mapping the uncertainty in modulus reduction and damping curves onto the uncertainty of site amplification functions, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Vol: 126, ISSN: 0267-7261

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis often requires the use of site response analyses to calculate site amplification factors (AFs) that capture the effects of near-surface layers. The site response analyses must also be conducted in a probabilistic framework to quantify the variability in AFs resulting from variation in the rock input motions and uncertainty in the dynamic properties of the soil profile, including uncertainty in the shear-wave velocity and in the nonlinear behavior of the soil. In equivalent linear analyses, the latter is captured through modulus reduction and damping curves (MRD). The joint randomization of shear-wave velocity and MRD curves can result in large computational costs. The objective of this paper is to propose a procedure to separately calculate the contribution of uncertainty in the MRD curves to the total uncertainty in the AFs for a site. This procedure is illustrated in an application for a seismic hazard and risk assessment of the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. The results show that the effect of uncertainty in MRD curves on the uncertainty in the AFs is highly dependent on the soil profile. This effect can be significant for soft soils and strong input motions. Results also indicate that the effects of MRD uncertainty can be correlated to elastic site properties.

Journal article

Ntinalexis M, Bommer JJ, Ruigrok E, Edwards B, Pinho R, Dost B, Correia AA, Uilenreef J, Stafford PJ, van Elk Jet al., 2019, Ground-motion networks in the Groningen field: usability and consistency of surface recordings, JOURNAL OF SEISMOLOGY, Vol: 23, Pages: 1233-1253, ISSN: 1383-4649

Several strong-motion networks have been installed in the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands to record ground motions associated with induced earthquakes. There are now more than 450 permanent surface accelerographs plus a mobile array of 450 instruments, which, in addition to many instrumented boreholes, yield a wealth of data. The database of recordings has been of fundamental importance to the development of ground-motion models that form a key element of the seismic hazard and risk estimations for the field. In order to maximise the benefit that can be derived from these recordings, this study evaluates the usability of the recordings from the different networks, in general terms and specifically with regards to the frequency ranges with acceptable signal-to-noise ratios. The study also explores the consistency among the recordings from the different networks, highlighting in particular how a configuration error was identified and resolved. The largest accelerograph network consists of instruments housed in buildings around the field, frequently installed on the lower parts of walls rather than on the floor. A series of experiments were conducted, using additional instruments installed adjacent to these buildings and replicating the installation configuration in full-scale shake table tests, to identify the degree to which structural response contaminated the recordings. The general finding of these efforts was that for PGV and oscillator periods above 0.1 s, the response spectral ordinates from these recordings can be used with confidence.

Journal article

Green RA, Bommer JJ, Rodriguez-Marek A, Maurer BW, Stafford PJ, Edwards B, Kruiver PP, de Lange G, van Elk Jet al., 2019, Addressing limitations in existing ‘simplified’ liquefaction triggering evaluation procedures: application to induced seismicity in the Groningen gas field, Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, Vol: 17, Pages: 4539-4557, ISSN: 1570-761X

The Groningen gas field is one of the largest in the world and has produced over 2000 billion m3 of natural gas since the start of production in 1963. The first earthquakes linked to gas production in the Groningen field occurred in 1991, with the largest event to date being a local magnitude (ML) 3.6. As a result, the field operator is leading an effort to quantify the seismic hazard and risk resulting from the gas production operations, including the assessment of liquefaction hazard. However, due to the unique characteristics of both the seismic hazard and the geological subsurface, particularly the unconsolidated sediments, direct application of existing liquefaction evaluation procedures is deemed inappropriate in Groningen. Specifically, the depth-stress reduction factor (rd) and the magnitude scaling factor relationships inherent to existing variants of the simplified liquefaction evaluation procedure are considered unsuitable for use. Accordingly, efforts have first focused on developing a framework for evaluating the liquefaction potential of the region for moment magnitudes (M) ranging from 3.5 to 7.0. The limitations of existing liquefaction procedures for use in Groningen and the path being followed to overcome these shortcomings are presented in detail herein.

Journal article

Green R, Bommer J, 2019, What is the smallest earthquake magnitude that needs to be considered in assessing liquefaction hazard?, Earthquake Spectra, Vol: 35, Pages: 1441-1464, ISSN: 8755-2930

Probabilistic assessments of the potential impact of earthquakes on the infrastructure entails the consideration of smaller magnitude events than those generally considered in deterministic hazard and risk assessments. In this context, it is useful to establish if there is a magnitude threshold below which the possibility of triggering liquefaction can be discounted because such a lower bound is required for probabilistic liquefaction hazard analyses. Based on field observations and a simple parametric study, we conclude that earthquakes as small as moment magnitude 4.5 can trigger liquefaction in extremely susceptible soil deposits. However, for soil profiles that are suitable for building structures, the minimum earthquake magnitude for the triggering of liquefaction is about 5. We therefore propose that in liquefaction hazard assessments of building sites magnitude 5.0 be adopted as the minimum earthquake size considered, while magnitudes as low as 4.5 may be appropriate for some other types of infrastructure.

Journal article

Edwards B, Zurek B, van Dedem E, Stafford PJ, Oates S, van Elk J, DeMartin B, Bommer Jet al., 2019, Simulations for the development of a ground motion model for induced seismicity in the Groningen gas field, the Netherlands, Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, Vol: 17, Pages: 4441-4456, ISSN: 1570-761X

We present simulations performed for the development of a ground motion model for induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field. The largest recorded event, with M3.5, occurred in 2012 and, more recently, a M3.4 event in 2018 led to recorded ground accelerations exceeding 0.1 g. As part of an extensive hazard and risk study, it has been necessary to predict ground motions for scenario earthquakes up to M7. In order to achieve this, while accounting for the unique local geology, a range of simulations have been performed using both stochastic and full-waveform finite-difference simulations. Due to frequency limitations and lack of empirical calibration of the latter approach, input simulations for the ground motion model used in the hazard and risk analyses have been performed with a finite-fault stochastic method. However, in parallel, extensive studies using the finite-difference simulations have guided inputs and modelling considerations for these simulations. Three approaches are used: (1) the finite-fault stochastic method, (2) elastic point- and (3) finite-source 3D finite-difference simulations. We present a summary of the methods and their synthesis, including both amplitudes and durations within the context of the hazard and risk model. A unique form of wave-propagation with strong lateral focusing and defocusing is evident in both peak amplitudes and durations. The results clearly demonstrate the need for a locally derived ground motion model and the potential for reduction in aleatory variability in moving toward a path-specific fully non-ergodic model.

Journal article

Stafford PJ, Zurek BD, Ntinalexis M, Bommer JJet al., 2019, Extensions to the Groningen ground-motion model for seismic risk calculations: component-to-component variability and spatial correlation, Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, Vol: 17, Pages: 4417-4439, ISSN: 1573-1456

A bespoke ground-motion model has been developed for the prediction of response spectral accelerations, peak ground velocity and significant duration due to induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. For applications to the calculation of risk to the exposed building stock, extensions to the model are required. The use of the geometric mean horizontal component in the ground-motion predictions and the arbitrary horizontal component for the building fragility functions requires the addition of component-to-component variability. A model for this variability has been developed that both reflects the strong horizontal polarisation of motions observed in many Groningen records obtained at short distances and the fact that the strong polarisation is unlikely to persist at larger magnitudes. The other extension of the model is the spatial correlation of ground motions for the calculation of aggregated risk, which can be approximated through simple rules for sampling the variance within site response zones. Making use of ground-motion recordings from several networks in the field and the results of finite difference waveform simulations, a Groningen-specific spatial correlation model has been developed. The new model also combines results from traditional variogram fitting approaches with a new method to infer spatial correlation lengths from observed variance reduction. The development of the new spatial correlation model relaxes the need to approximate spatial correlation through the sampling of site response, although the results obtained herein suggest that similar results could be obtained using either approach. The preliminary consideration of the numerical waveform modelling results in this study paves the way for significant extensions to be made for the modelling of spatial correlations and the decomposition of apparent spatial variability into systematic and random components within a fully non-ergodic framework .

Journal article

van Elk J, Bourne SJ, Oates SJ, Bommer JJ, Pinho R, Crowley Het al., 2019, A probabilistic model to evaluate options for mitigating induced seismic risk, Earthquake Spectra, Vol: 35, Pages: 537-564, ISSN: 8755-2930

Common responses to induced seismicity are based on control of the anthropogenic activity causing the earthquakes, like fluid injection or withdrawal, in order to limit either the magnitudes of the events or the level of ground motion to within established thresholds. An alternative risk mitigation option is seismic retrofitting of the more vulnerable buildings potentially exposed to the ground shaking in order to reduce the risk to acceptable levels. Optimal mitigation strategies may combine both production control and structural strengthening, for which a probabilistic risk model is required that can estimate the change in hazard due to production or injection variations and the changes in fragility resulting from structural interventions. Such a risk model has been developed for the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. The framework for this risk model to inform decision-making regarding mitigation strategies can be adapted to other cases of anthropogenically-induced seismicity.

Journal article

Dost B, Edwards B, Bommer JJ, 2019, Erratum The Relationship between M and ML: A Review and Application to Induced Seismicity in the Groningen Gas Field, The Netherlands, Seismological Research Letters, ISSN: 0895-0695

Journal article

Verdon JP, Baptie BJ, Bommer J, 2019, An improved framework for discriminating seismicity induced by industrial activities from natural earthquakes, Seismological Research Letters, Vol: 90, Pages: 1592-1611, ISSN: 0895-0695

Heightened concerns regarding induced seismicity necessitate robust methods to assess whether detected earthquakes near industrial sites are natural or induced by the industrial activity. These assessments are required rapidly, which often precludes detailed modeling of fluid pressures and the geomechanical response of the reservoir and nearby faults. Simple question‐based assessment schemes in current use are a useful tool but suffer from several shortcomings: they do not specifically address questions regarding whether available evidence supports the case for natural seismicity; they give all questions equal weighting regardless of the relative influence of different factors; they are not formulated to account for ambiguous or uncertain evidence; and the final outcomes can be difficult to interpret. We propose a new framework that addresses these shortcomings by assigning numerical scores to each question, with positive values for answers that support induced seismicity and negative values for responses favoring natural seismicity. The score values available for each question reflect the relative importance of the different questions, and for each question the absolute value of the score is modulated according to the degree of uncertainty. The final outcome is a score, the induced assessment ratio, either positive or negative (or zero), that reflects whether events were induced or natural. A second score, the evidence strength ratio, is assigned that characterizes the strength of the available evidence, expressed as the ratio of the maximum score possible with the available evidence relative to the maximum score that could be obtained if all desired data were available at a site. We demonstrate this approach by application to two case studies in the United Kingdom, one widely regarded as a case of induced seismicity, and the other more likely to be a series of tectonic earthquakes.

Journal article

de Almeida AAD, Assumpção M, Bommer JJ, Drouet S, Riccomini C, Prates CLMet al., 2019, Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for a nuclear power plant site in southeast Brazil, Journal of Seismology, Vol: 23, Pages: 1-23, ISSN: 1383-4649

A site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) has been performed for the only nuclear power plant site in Brazil, located 130 km southwest of Rio de Janeiro at Angra dos Reis. Logic trees were developed for both the seismic source characterisation and ground-motion characterisation models, in both cases seeking to capture the appreciable ranges of epistemic uncertainty with relatively few branches. This logic-tree structure allowed the hazard calculations to be performed efficiently while obtaining results that reflect the inevitable uncertainty in long-term seismic hazard assessment in this tectonically stable region. An innovative feature of the study is an additional seismic source zone added to capture the potential contributions of characteristics earthquake associated with geological faults in the region surrounding the coastal site.

Journal article

Ulmer KJ, Upadhyaya S, Green RA, Rodriguez-Marek A, Stafford PJ, Bommer JJ, van Elk Jet al., 2018, A Critique of b-Values Used for Computing Magnitude Scaling Factors, Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics V, Pages: 112-121, ISSN: 0895-0563

© 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers. The objective of this paper is to explore the effects of relative density, effective confining stress, and liquefaction initiation criteria on the slope (or b-value) of the cyclic stress ratio versus number of uniform stress cycles to liquefaction curve in log-log space. The b-value is central to the computation of magnitude scaling factors (MSF) used in evaluating liquefaction potential and can be determined from cyclic laboratory tests such as cyclic triaxial (CTRX), cyclic simple shear (CSS), and cyclic torsional (CTS) tests. This paper provides a summary of b-values calculated from published test data representing multiple types of laboratory tests, sands, sample preparation methods, and liquefaction criteria. Trends between b-values and relative density are shown to be more ambiguous than is often assumed. Effective confining stresses and liquefaction criteria are also shown to have an effect on b-values.

Conference paper

Noorlandt R, Kruiver PP, de Kleine MPE, Karaoulis M, de Lange G, Di Matteo A, von Ketelhodt J, Ruigrok E, Edwards B, Rodriguez-Marek A, Bommer JJ, van Elk J, Doornhof Det al., 2018, Characterisation of ground motion recording stations in the Groningen gas field, Journal of Seismology, Vol: 22, Pages: 605-623, ISSN: 1383-4649

The seismic hazard and risk analysis for the onshore Groningen gas field requires information about local soil properties, in particular shear-wave velocity (V S ). A fieldwork campaign was conducted at 18 surface accelerograph stations of the monitoring network. The subsurface in the region consists of unconsolidated sediments and is heterogeneous in composition and properties. A range of different methods was applied to acquire in situ V S values to a target depth of at least 30 m. The techniques include seismic cone penetration tests (SCPT) with varying source offsets, multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) on Rayleigh waves with different processing approaches, microtremor array, cross-hole tomography and suspension P-S logging. The offset SCPT, cross-hole tomography and common midpoint cross-correlation (CMPcc) processing of MASW data all revealed lateral variations on length scales of several to tens of metres in this geological setting. SCPTs resulted in very detailed V S profiles with depth, but represent point measurements in a heterogeneous environment. The MASW results represent V S information on a larger spatial scale and smooth some of the heterogeneity encountered at the sites. The combination of MASW and SCPT proved to be a powerful and cost-effective approach in determining representative V S profiles at the accelerograph station sites. The measured V S profiles correspond well with the modelled profiles and they significantly enhance the ground motion model derivation. The similarity between the theoretical transfer function from the V S profile and the observed amplification from vertical array stations is also excellent.

Journal article

Dost B, Edwards B, Bommer JJ, 2018, The relationship between M and M<inf>L</inf>: A review and application to induced seismicity in the groningen gas field, the Netherlands, Seismological Research Letters, Vol: 89, Pages: 1062-1074, ISSN: 0895-0695

The use of local magnitude (M L ) in seismic hazard analyses is a topic of recent debate. In regions of weak or moderate seismicity, small earthquakes (characterized by M L ) are commonly used to determine frequency-magnitude distributions (FMDs) for probabilistic seismic hazard calculations. However, empirical and theoretical studies on the relation between moment magnitude (M) and M L for small earthquakes show a systematic difference between the two below a region-dependent magnitude threshold. This difference may introduce bias in the estimation of the frequency of larger events with given M, and consequently seismic hazard. For induced seismicity related to the Groningen gas field, this magnitude threshold is determined to be M ∼ 2, with equality between M and M L at higher magnitudes. A quadratic relation between M and M L is derived for 0:5 < M L < 2, in correspondence to recent theoretical studies. Although the seismic hazard analysis for Groningen is internally consistent when expressed in terms of M L (with the implicit assumption of equivalence between the two scales), a more physical interpretation of the seismicity model requires transformation of the earthquake catalog from local to moment magnitude, especially because the dataset currently used in estimating time-dependent hazard consists mainly of M L < 2:5 events. We show that measured station effects, derived from M calculations, correspond to predicted model calculations used to determine a ground-motion model for the region.

Journal article

Bommer JJ, Dost B, Edwards B, 2018, The relationship between M and ML – a review and application to induced seismicity in the Groningen gas field, the Netherlands, Seismological Research Letters, ISSN: 0895-0695

The use of local magnitude (ML) in seismic hazard analyses is a topic of recent debate. In 2regions of weak-or moderate-seismicity, small earthquakes (characterized by ML) are 3commonly used to determine frequency-magnitude distributions (FMD) for probabilistic4seismic hazard calculations. However, empirical and theoretical studies on the relation 5between moment magnitude (M) and ML for small earthquakes show a systematic difference between the two below a region-dependent magnitude threshold. This difference may introduce bias in the estimation of the frequency of larger events with given M, and consequently seismic hazard. For induced seismicity related to the Groningen gas field, this magnitude threshold is determined to be M~ 2, with equality between Mand ML at higher magnitudes. A quadratic relation between M and ML is derived for 0.5 < ML < 2, in correspondence to recent theoretical studies. While the seismic hazard analysis for Groningen is internally consistent when expressed in terms of ML (with the implicit assumption of equivalence between the two scales), a more physical interpretation of theseismicity model requirestransformation of the earthquake catalogue from local to moment magnitude, especially since the dataset currently used in estimating time-dependent hazard consists mainly of ML< 2.5 events. We show that measured station effects, derived from Mcalculations, correspond to predicted model calculations used to determine a ground-motion model for the region.

Journal article

Bommer JJ, Dost B, Edwards B, Kruiver PP, Ntinalexis M, Rodriguez-Marek A, Stafford PJ, van Elk Jet al., 2018, Developing a model for the prediction of ground motions due to earthquakes in the Groningen gas field, NETHERLANDS JOURNAL OF GEOSCIENCES-GEOLOGIE EN MIJNBOUW, Vol: 96, Pages: S203-S213, ISSN: 0016-7746

Major efforts are being undertaken to quantify seismic hazard and risk due to production-induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field as thebasis for rational decision-making about mitigation measures. An essential element is a model to estimate surface ground motions expected at anylocation for each earthquake originating within the gas reservoir. Taking advantage of the excellent geological and geophysical characterisationof thefield and a growing database of ground-motion recordings, models have been developed for predicting response spectral accelerations, peak groundvelocity and ground-motion durations for a wide range of magnitudes. The models reflect the unique source and travel path characteristics of theGroningen earthquakes, and account for the inevitable uncertainty in extrapolating from the small observed magnitudes to potential larger events.The predictions of ground-motion amplitudes include the effects of nonlinear site response of the relatively soft near-surface deposits throughoutthe field.

Journal article

Green RA, Stafford P, Maurer BW, Rodriguez-Marek A, Bommer JJ, Edwards B, Oates SJ, Kruiver PP, de Lange G, Omidi P, Storck T, van Elk Jet al., 2018, Liquefaction hazard due to induced seismicity: Overview of the pilot study being performed for the Groningen region of the Netherlands, 11th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Publisher: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

Conference paper

Bommer JJ, van Elk J, Doornhof D, Bourne SJ, Oates SJ, Pinho R, Crowley Het al., 2017, Hazard and risk assessments for induced seismicity in Groningen, Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Vol: 96, Pages: 2259-s269, ISSN: 0016-7746

Earthquakes associated with gas production have been recorded in the northern part of the Netherlands since 1986. The Huizinge earthquake of 16 August 2012, the strongest so far with a magnitude of M L = 3.6, prompted reassessment of the seismicity induced by production from the Groningen gas field. An international research programme was initiated, with the participation of many Dutch and international universities, knowledge institutes and recognised experts.The prime aim of the programme was to assess the hazard and risk resulting from the induced seismicity. Classic probabilistic seismic hazard and risk assessment (PSHA) was implemented using a Monte Carlo method. The scope of the research programme extended from the cause (production of gas from the underground reservoir) to the effects (risk to people and damage to buildings). Data acquisition through field measurements and laboratory experiments was a substantial element of the research programme. The existing geophone and accelerometer monitoring network was extended, a new network of accelerometers in building foundations was installed, geophones were placed at reservoir level in deep wells, GPS stations were installed and a gravity survey was conducted.Results of the probabilistic seismic hazard and risk assessment have been published in production plans submitted to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Winningsplan Groningen 2013 and 2016 and several intermediate updates. The studies and data acquisition further constrained the uncertainties and resulted in a reduction of the initially assessed hazard and risk.

Journal article

Stafford PJ, Rodriguez-Marek A, Edwards B, Kruiver PP, Bommer JJet al., 2017, Scenario dependence of linear site-effect factors for short-period response spectral ordinates, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol: 107, Pages: 2859-2872, ISSN: 0037-1106

Ground‐motion models for response spectral ordinates commonly partition site‐response effects into linear and nonlinear components. The nonlinear components depend upon the earthquake scenario being considered implicitly through the use of the expected level of excitation at some reference horizon. The linear components are always assumed to be independent of the earthquake scenario. This article presents empirical and numerical evidence as well as a theoretical explanation for why the linear component of site response depends upon the magnitude and distance of the earthquake scenario. Although the impact is most pronounced for small‐magnitude scenarios, the finding has significant implications for a number of applications of more general interest including the development of site‐response terms within ground‐motion models, the estimation of ground‐motion variability components ϕS2SϕS2S and ϕSSϕSS , the construction of partially nonergodic models for site‐specific hazard assessments, and the validity of the convolution approach for computing surface hazard curves from those at a reference horizon, among others. All of these implications are discussed in the present article.

Journal article

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