Stress tensor changes related to fluid injection at The Geysers geothermal field, California


Corresponding author: P. Martínez-Garzón, Section 3.2 Geomechanics and Rheology, GFZ German Research for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany. (


[1] Studying variations of the stress field in reservoirs caused by massive fluid injection is important toward an improved understanding of geomechanical processes involved. We report on spatio-temporal variations of the local stress tensor orientation at The Geysers geothermal field, California. We apply two stress inversion methods with detailed uncertainty assessments using a selection of events recorded between 2007 and 2012. Our results clearly indicate variations in the orientation of the principal stress axes for the reservoir as a whole showing a normal faulting regime at the reservoir depth between 2 and 3.7 km bounded by a strike-slip regime above and below. Analyzing the temporal evolution of the stress tensor orientation for a prominent seismicity cluster we observe a clear correlation of changes in orientation for σ1–3 with the highest injection rates. These results suggest that temporal changes in the stress tensor orientation could contribute to characterize reservoirs during stimulation.