Human induced surface deformation in Oklahoma - An International Collaboration

My name is Alessandro Novellino, I am an early career researcher at the British Geological Survey (BGS) where I work as Remote Sensing Geoscientist within the Earth and Planetary Observation and Monitoring (EPOM) team.

Working on my presentation in BGS office

A key part of my role is the analysis, interpretation and processing of spaceborne data for developing integrated satellite and in-situ monitoring techniques and studying anthropogenic/natural geohazards where ground motion measurements usually represent a key component in disaster risk assessment and management.

A constant part of my time includes collaboration with national and international research institutions (e.g., NASA-JPL, University of Naples, Virginia Tech) and in August 2017 the GeoEnergy Research Centre assisted my research by awarding me funding from the Early Career Researchers Development Fund.

The budget will support my travel, planned for February 2018, to the University at Buffalo (USA) where I will be working with E. Chaussard, assistant professor with background in geodesy and geophysics.

I will use that time trying to refine the seismic hazard in the Fairview region (north-central Oklahoma, USA), where a soar in seismicity since 2009 has been linked to extensive wastewater injection into subsurface sedimentary rocks and seismic hazard has been difficult to assess as the seismogenic fault is here entirely buried within the Precambrian basement. Consequently, this region represents a laboratory for research on human-triggered earthquakes.

Refinement of the seismic hazard in the region will represent the last stage of a research project which incorporates the estimation of surface creep rates along the Fairview fault and the integration with ground deformation measurements from spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data of the Sentinel-1 constellation which represents a time-saving and cost-effective solution for precisely monitoring surface deformation over areas of fluid injection and extraction.

SAR data have been generated and analysed along with the fundamental contribution of other colleagues and specifically: Dr A. Sowter and Mr D. Gee from Geomatic Ventures Limited, Dr S. Grebby from University of Nottingham, E. Gilliland and N. Ripepi from Virginia Tech.

Meanwhile, I have been working to a presentation on the preliminary results obtained so far and titled ‘Effects of Oil and Gas Production and Wastewater Injection on Surface Deformation in North Central Oklahoma’ and presented at the (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) AAPG’s International Conference and Exhibition held in London from the 15th-18th October.

Nine months have passed since I started my current position, and have had a very positive experience of BGS and GERC. I am so proud and honoured to be here and I strongly believe that the main reason for it is due to the amazing people I can work with every day.

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