Report on the EAGE PSW 18, held in Krakow, Poland

Kraków was the host for the seventh installment of the EAGE Passive Seismic Workshop (March 27-29, 2018). Kraków, a Center of Excellence in mining induced seismicity for decades, was an ideal location to gather and discuss new insights into passive seismicity. The focus of the meeting was around the concept of outreach and integration, with presentations and discussions centering on passive seismic monitoring from the laboratory to earth scale and from mining to petroleum and geothermal applications and instrumentation. The interactive round-table format supplemented with technical keynote presentations and posters provided the 56 participants from 19 countries an opportunity to discuss current status quo in the discipline as well as examine new directions for development going forward. Participants left the meeting with key objectives for the future and an understanding of diversity in passive seismic monitoring and the cross-disciplinary benefits of integrated solutions.

The workshop ran over three days, each day with a separate focus. The first day revolved around the concept of induced seismicity. With recent large magnitude events occurring in relation to petroleum extraction, waste-water injection and mining, public concern and the potential for environmental risk has been elevated. Much of the discussion concerned current regulatory requirements in places around the world and what steps need to be taken to enhance our understanding of induced seismicity to allow for the development of better probabilistic models and evaluation approaches for regulators to follow. It was agreed, that the critical nature of this topic needed to be addressed by starting with the installation of instrumentation that allows for the appropriate assessment of the rock conditions leading to these events. Although prediction was not the goal of these monitoring programs, a sense of understanding rock behavior and the rocks potential for induced seismic events leading to better predictive models of hazard was tabled as part of the discussions. Risk management was stressed, and the importance of pre-surveys and base line monitoring outlined. It was also suggested that current traffic light systems being used by regulators should be extended to include additional constraints such as use of ground motion parameters and event source characteristics. A question that all agreed needed further clarification was the distinction between induced, triggered, or natural events. It was suggested that these terms are currently a bit nebulous and need better definition as they are used interchangeably and have significant implications when it comes to assignment of risk and eventually who should bear the costs and responsibility.

The second day of the workshop focused on the area of integration of different disciplines and their linkage to establish a better understanding of rock behavior leading to improved governance of seismicity. Keynote presentations focused on examining linkages between laboratory-scale to earth-scale monitoring, rock properties with passive seismicity and the scaling behavior associated with these different data streams. A second component of integration centered around the inclusion of these data and their use in the calibration / validation of geomechanical and fracture models associated with hydraulic fracturing, ultimately in deriving a data-driven, cross-disciplinary and multi-scale approach to risk management. The posters and roundtable discussions provided an opportunity to list examples of successful cross-disciplinary programs currently in place, the data streams required going forward, an assessment of who would benefit from integration, and the constraints that could limit success of integrated solutions. It was generally agreed that most in the industry consider integration as paramount to understanding rock behavior, this is particularly true in human resource limited operations, but it was also clear that attaining integrated solutions will require additional development to establish quantifiable linkages. But the challenges are not limited to technical solutions. There is also the challenge of who integration is geared towards: is it for engineers, geoscientists, economic groups, governance bodies? Each has their own perspective that needs to be unified through common goals and language. Participants in the roundtable discussions came away with a sense that cross-disciplinary team building with leadership from the top providing distinct economic goals will set the foundation for integration to proceed, and that in the current and future economic climate for resource development along with continued advancement in digital technologies and access to data it is inevitable that results based integrated solutions will develop over time.

The third day of the workshop focused on looking forward on new directions and challenges to the topics covered during the first two days of the workshop. Keynote and poster presentations were quite varied as were the topics but continued the theme from days one and two, considering the challenges of identifying risk and hazard, the scaling of data from the laboratory to earth scale, and the impact of supplementary technologies such as Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and interferometric synthetic aperture radar InSAR could have with regards to passive seismicity recording and interpretation (particularly for Induced Seismicity). Questions of data congruency were considered, particularly with regards to understanding the current development of technologies such as DAS and resolution and scaling (temporal) of InSAR as compared to the fractures/structures responsible for induced seismicity. Fundamental questions of seismic versus aseismic were discussed and the value and need for better established rupture models were identified. Through discussions, the common challenge was related to the incorporation of new technologies from outside the geoscience realm. For integration, the need of better visualization tools (including virtual reality) and so called ‘big data’ management approaches within a Machine Learning Environment were considered tools that will lead to interpretive successes. A very strong message was provided that education at the post-secondary level needs to evolve, as most programs currently available today are offered in silos, rather than in a cross-disciplinary manner that is needed in industry and academia when it comes to geoscience.

Participants all agreed that the workshop format and content was relevant and that overall was successful with positive learnings from the workshop that could be adapted in their day-to-day operations. At this juncture we would like to thank the organizing committee for their tireless efforts to ensure a successful gathering and the group leaders and scribes who lead the discussions. In particular, the local committee needs to be commended for organizing social activities, including a tour of old Kraków and an evening visit and dinner 135m below the surface in the chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, an event that gave all participants the opportunity to get to know each other well as they walked the rather narrow tunnels of the mine. The event could not have happened without EAGE and its organizational team which ensured deadlines were met and that the venue provided the best opportunity for participants to be engaged.

We are already looking forward to the Eighth Passive Seismic Workshop to be held in 2020. Potential topics for the meeting were discussed which revolved around the idea of data sharing and increased participation from youth. It was suggested that the IS-EPOS platform on anthropogenic seismicity (website: could be used to house a common data set with free access that could form the basis for a session led by academia with student driven research. Other focuses could include a pre-workshop session on the fundamentals of earthquake seismology, and workshop sessions focused on rock mechanics, multidisciplinary studies, rock physics, rock mass characterization, petroleum and mining engineering, and new technologies as related to passive seismicity. In any manner, the next workshop will indeed ensure an opportunity to enhance our understanding and interpretation of passive seismicity.

We look forward to seeing you at the next workshop!

Ted, Andreas, and Stanislaw