11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
[MIS16-09] Scientific drilling into seismogenic zones of M2.0 – M5.5 earthquakes in deep South African gold mines (DSeis)
Keywords:South African gold mines, Seismogenic zones, Scientific drilling
We intend to drill several tens of holes into and around seismogenic zones to study the rupture details and scaling of both small (M2.0) and larger (M5.5) earthquakes. An advantage of the relatively low cost of drilling is that multiple holes can be drilled. Past fault zone drilling projects have been limited to 1 or 2 boreholes, severely limiting the ability to resolve spatial variability. The value of the project will be maximized if we combine results from a number of boreholes drilled into the source area of the M5.5 seismogenic zone, and also compare with boreholes in source regions of small earthquakes in other mining horizons. Additionally, the combination of logging, fault sampling, and earthquake monitoring, will be enhanced in some cases by the direct visual observations of exhumed faults, leading to a unique complete picture of the earthquake source.
In seismogenic zones in a critical state of stress, it is difficult to delineate reliably local spatial variations in both the directions and magnitudes of principal stresses (3D full stress tensor). We have overcome this problem and can numerically model stress better, enabling orientations of boreholes that minimize stress-induced damage during drilling and overcoring. We can also reliably measure the stress tensor even when stresses are as large as those expected in seismogenic zones. Better recovery of cores with less stress-induced damage is also feasible. These studies will allow us to address key scientific questions in earthquake science and deep biosphere activities.