Geoscience BC expands earthquake research in Northeast B.C.

Geoscience BC is expanding its research into industry-caused earthquakes around Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

The agency announced today that it will study how seismic waves from earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing can be amplified in shallow geological conditions.

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“Most recent studies in this area have focussed on the reduction of ground motion as you get further from the seismic event," lead researcher Dr. Patrick Monahan said in a news release.

"But seismic ground motions can also be amplified significantly on sites underlain by certain sediments, compared to sites on bedrock or firm ground.”

In February, Geoscience BC released a report and series of maps detailing where there's an increased potential of amplification of ground motion from earthquakes caused by fracing and fluid disposal in Northeast B.C.

This new study will expand on that work, the agency said, and address public concerns about earthquakes and oil and gas development in the region.

Researchers will collect data from oil and gas wells, water wells, and geotechnical boreholes as part of the study that will help industry and regulators identify where there's a higher change felt earthquake events will be felt at the surface.

"The new science generated by this project will help us better understand which areas have the potential of increased ground motion during induced seismicity events associated with natural gas extraction," Geoscience BC Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Carlos Salas said.

"The information can be used by industry, regulators, communities in the Peace River Regional District and Indigenous groups to improve industry procedures to manage felt events."

A public open house about the project is scheduled for May 29 at KPAC in Dawson Creek from 5:30 to 7 p.m. 

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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