Conducting baseline seismic monitoring at the Field Research Station near Brooks, Alberta

Thanks to the UKCCSRC International Research Collaboration Fund I have been conducting baseline seismic monitoring at the Field Research Station (FRS) near Brooks, Alberta.  The FRS is an exciting research project run by the Containment & Monitoring Institute (CaMI), a business unit of CMC Research Institutes in Calgary.  The plan is to inject CO2 into the subsurface at a depth of approximately 300m. Geophysical, geochemical, geomechanical and geodetic monitoring research at the site will be used to study the subsurface gas plume to improve understanding of  shallow groundwater systems, fluid flow and the behaviour of CO2 in an aquifer.

The work has involved several trips to Brooks, first to deploy the broadband seismic stations and then to collect the baseline data. The baseline is important so any observed changes in seismic activity or seismic velocities once CO2 injection begins may be attributed to the injection.  The data reveals many regional explosion events, and a large portion of these events do not appear in the Canadian catalogue.  So far we have not observed any events at or near the site. Our instruments remain in the field and we are looking forward to the time when CO2 is injected at the site so we can observe the effect on seismicity and seismic velocities.

Over several trips to Canada, I received support and help in the field from University of Bristol and Calgary-based colleagues, in particular, Anna Horleston, Mike Kendall, Antony Butcher, Rob Kendall (Kendall Geophysics) and Doug Goble (Global Seismic Repairs). Even Brunel Duck, the Bristol Geophysics mascot, has broadened his horizons with multiple trips (see photos).  We have made many contacts and benefitted from the support of the CaMI team, including Don Lawton and Amin Saeedfar. In Brooks, the land owners kindly gave us permission to put our seismometers in their fields, Boomers provided the amazingly simple and effective bright orange cow fences for our sites (see photo), we have become accustomed to the smell of the local abattoir (we still don’t like it!) and our favourite restaurant is Ricky’s where we are now recognised by the waitress (she has recently given up Coronation St in an attempt to watch less TV). We have experienced a wide range of weather from snow to bright, hot sunshine (see photos). Overall, Canadians are so friendly and helpful that our work has gone without any hiccups and we’ve even had time for some geotourism at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller – an amazing museum if you get the chance to visit (see photo).

A. Stork