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Remote Sensing









The Cushing Hub in Oklahoma, one of the largest oil storage facilities in the world, is federally designated as critical national infrastructure. In 2014, the formerly aseismic city of Cushing experienced a Mw 4.0 and 4.3 induced earthquake sequence due to wastewater injection. Since then, an M4+ earthquake sequence has occurred annually (October 2014, September 2015, November 2016). Thus far, damage to critical infrastructure has been minimal; however, a larger earthquake could pose significant risk to the Cushing Hub. In addition to inducing earthquakes, wastewater injection also threatens the Cushing Hub through gradual surface uplift. To characterize the impact of wastewater injection on critical infrastructure, we use Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR), a satellite radar technique, to observe ground surface displacement in Cushing before and during the induced Mw 5.0 event. Here, we process interferograms of Single Look Complex (SLC) radar data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-1A satellite. The preearthquake interferograms are used to create a time series of cumulative surface displacement, while the coseismic interferograms are used to invert for earthquake source characteristics. The time series of surface displacement reveals 4⁻5.5 cm of uplift across Cushing over 17 months. The coseismic interferogram inversion suggests that the 2016 Mw 5.0 earthquake is shallower than estimated from seismic inversions alone. This shallower source depth should be taken into account in future hazard assessments for regional infrastructure. In addition, monitoring of surface deformation near wastewater injection wells can be used to characterize the subsurface dynamics and implement measures to mitigate damage to critical installations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.