Dynamics of geologic CO2 storage and plume motion revealed by seismic coda waves.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810903116
Quantifying the dynamics of sequestered CO2 plumes is critical for safe long-term storage, providing guidance on plume extent, and detecting stratigraphic seal failure. However, existing seismic monitoring methods based on wave reflection or transmission probe a limited rock volume and their sensitivity decreases as CO2 saturation increases, decreasing their utility in quantitative plume mass estimation. Here we show that seismic scattering coda waves, acquired during continuous borehole monitoring, are able to illuminate details of the CO2 plume during a 74-h CO2 injection experiment at the Frio-II well Dayton, TX. Our study reveals a continuous velocity reduction during the dynamic injection of CO2, a result that augments and dramatically improves upon prior analyses based on P-wave arrival times. We show that velocity reduction is nonlinearly correlated with the injected cumulative CO2 mass and attribute this correlation to the fact that coda waves repeatedly sample the heterogeneous distribution of cumulative CO2 in the reservoir zone. Lastly, because our approach does not depend on P-wave arrival times or require well-constrained wave reflections it can be used with many source-receiver geometries including those external to the reservoir, which reduces the risk introduced by in-reservoir monitoring wells. Our results provide an approach for quantitative CO2 monitoring and plume evolution that increases safety and long-term planning for CO2 injection and storage.