Characterizing the deformation of reservoirs using interferometry, gravity, and seismic analyses

Cara Gina Schiek, University of Texas at El Paso


In this dissertation, I characterize how reservoirs deform using surface and subsurface techniques. The surface technique I employ is radar interferometry, also known as InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar). The subsurface analyses I explore include gravity modeling and seismic techniques consisting of determining earthquake locations from a small-temporary seismic network of six seismometers. These techniques were used in two different projects to determine how reservoirs deform in the subsurface and how this deformation relates to its remotely sensed surface deformation. ^ The first project uses InSAR to determine land subsidence in the Mimbres basin near Deming, NM. The land subsidence measurements are visually compared to gravity models in order to determine the influence of near surface faults on the subsidence and the physical properties of the aquifers in these basins. Elastic storage coefficients were calculated for the Mimbres basin to aid in determining the stress regime of the aquifers. In the Mimbres basin, I determine that it is experiencing elastic deformation at differing compaction rates. The west side of the Mimbres basin is deforming faster, 17 mm/yr, while the east side of the basin is compacting at a rate of 11 mm/yr. The second project focuses on San Miguel volcano, El Salvador. Here, I integrate InSAR with earthquake locations using surface deformation forward modeling to investigate the explosive volcanism in this region. This investigation determined the areas around the volcano that are undergoing deformation, and that could lead to volcanic hazards such as slope failure from a fractured volcano interior. I use the earthquake epicenters with field data to define the subsurface geometry of the deformation source, which I forward model to produce synthetic interferograms. Residuals between the synthetic and observed interferograms demonstrate that the observed deformation is a direct result of the seismic activity along the San Miguel Fracture Zone. Based on the large number of earthquakes concentrated in this region and the fracturing suggested by the earthquake location results, I conclude that the southwestern slope of San Miguel is the most susceptible to volcanic hazards such as landsliding and flank lava flows. ^ Together these projects explore the dynamics of reservoir systems, both hydrologic and magmatic. They show the utility of geodetic remote sensing to constrain the relative importance of various, complex, subsurface processes, including faulting, fluid migration, and compaction.^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Schiek, Cara Gina, "Characterizing the deformation of reservoirs using interferometry, gravity, and seismic analyses" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3358974.