A Belgian-French-German team identifies a new application of a seismic method for monitoring underground water resources
Their innovation: using seismic noise generated by oceans and which travel around the world to study tiny changes in seismic wave’s velocity in aquifers. Decrease (or increase) of water resources stored in the underground is coupled with an increase (or decrease) of seismic wave velocities in the geological layers.
After three years of research the team led by Dr Thomas Lecocq, seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, has identified a complementary method to existing hydrological monitoring techniques. To do so, the researchers have analysed 30 years of continuous seismic data: the longest seismic time series from a seismic network installed in southeast Germany in 1976 and that is still operational. The results show that it is possible to use seismic networks to study the state of the Earth’s crust at a scale previously out of reach. This scale fills the gap between existing local (piezometer or gravimeter) and regional (satellites) observations.
The team is composed of a hydrogeophysicist from the Université de Rennes (L. Longuevergne) and of seismologists from the Université Grenoble-Alpes (H.A. Pedersen and F. Brenguier) and from the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (K. Stammler).
This study is published in Nature Scientific Reports on Friday 27 October in “Open Access CC-BY”. All data and methods used are “Open”.
Thomas Lecocq, Laurent Longuevergne, Helle Anette Pedersen, Florent Brenguier and Klaus Stammler. “Monitoring Ground Water Storage at Mesoscale Using Seismic Noise: 30 Years of Continuous Observation and Thermo-Elastic and Hydrological Modeling.” Scientific Reports 7, no. 1 (October 27, 2017): 14241.
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