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Advanced industrial microseismic monitoring

Final Report Summary - AIM (Advanced industrial microseismic monitoring)

1. Project objectives
The aim of the project was to stimulate and advance research in microseismic monitoring in areas of prominent social and industrial significance, and to foster the cooperation between academic researchers in theoretical and observational earthquake seismology and private research teams monitoring a natural or induced microseismic activity for industrial purposes. The involved academics had a reputation in analysing parameters of earthquakes, seismic wave propagation, seismic tomography and seismic hazard assessment. The industrial partners were small enterprises with high-tech equipment, long-lasting experience in monitoring microseismicity and with adequate research capacities.

The project promoted synergy between four academic institutions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with industrial partners from Slovakia, Norway, South Africa and Canada. The collaboration was realized by visits of 21 researchers from four academic institutions and four industrial institutions, three of them were recruited post-docs.

2. Results
In theory, the project partners developed new schemes for calculating parameters of microearthquakes. They focused on theory, modelling and inversion of tensile earthquakes, when the fractures are opened or closed during rupture process. Such mechanisms are not commonly considered in global earthquake seismology, but they are important for understanding microseismicity and the mechanisms of microearthquakes. These mechanisms can be induced by fluid flow in geothermal areas or by excavation activity in mines.

As the advanced seismic analyses need high-quality observations, a seismic mini-array was installed at the Dobra Voda area, Slovakia, which is close to the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant. The mini-array enhanced the sensitivity of the existing seismic network operated by one of the project partners and enabled to reveal a more detailed and more comprehensive pattern of microseismicity in the area. The recording seismometers were arranged as a tripartite array of 100 m layout around the three-component central station. Moreover, based on the successful collaboration in the project, the project partners decided to install additional 3 seismic stations in the area in order to cover better the whole seismoactive area.

The developed methods were applied to seismic observations at the Dobra Voda area, Slovakia, and at the West Bohemia seismoactive region in the Czech Republic, which is the famous spa area. Furthermore, we analysed microseismicity of unstable rock slopes in Norwegian fjords, which can potentially cause local tsunami, and mining tremors in deep mines in Finland, South Africa and Australia. The analyses contributed to better understanding of origin of natural microearthquakes and of tectonic processes and tectonic stress release associated with rock bursts induced by mining activity.

3. Publications
The results of the project were presented at annual project meetings, at international conferences and workshops. The results were published in 14 scientific papers in impacted peer-reviewed geophysical and seismological journals. The presentations, papers and all the relevant information on the project can be found on the project web site: http://www.ig.cas.cz/en/aim/aim-home.

4. Socio-economic impact
The project contributed to seismic hazard assessment of several socially important areas: (1) the seismoactive Dobra Voda area in Slovakia which is quite close to the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant, (2) the spa area in West Bohemia, Czech Republic, which is prone to recurrence of earthquake swarms, (3) sliding rock slopes in Norwegian fjords at the Aknes area, and (4) seismic hazard related to mining activity in open-pit and deep-level mines in Finland, South Africa and Australia. The project helped creating compact teams of researchers able to perform a high-quality research in the field of microseismicity and establishing new links between various academic and industrial institutions. Three post-docs from France, Italy and Canada were successfully educated under this project.