Research

The SEISMIC RISK project focuses on how to evaluate, mitigate, communicate and govern seismic hazard and risk related to geothermal heat production and threatening urban societies. First, induced seismicity, if not regulated at all, may cause serious damage to infrastructure, even in the Helsinki Capital Region. Second, the process of permitting is very complex, unclear, and involves different sectors of society and many levels of governmental and municipal administration. Third, imaging the bedrock and soil conditions, assessing the infrastructure and mapping and evaluating induced hazard and risk as well as modelling the effects of seismic wave propagation in the Helsinki Capital Region provide the authorities with critical knowledge about the spatially variable risk levels for the decision-making and for developing crises preparedness plans. Communication of risk increases societal acceptance and prepare the society for potential risk and its mitigation with building codes, construction or environmental regulations.

The project work is divided into nine work packages, with one to five subtasks in each of them. The tasks are numbered in working order.

Work package 1 (WP1) prepares the best possible seismic hazard map for the national needs. This is a prerequisite for an analysis of seismic risk. In addition, natural seismicity is addressed at this point. WP1 consists of four subtasks listed below.

  1. Re-zoning of seismic source areas (SSAs) in Finland. The outcome is a zoning map of Finland. ​
  2. Re-assessment of the largest potential magnitude Mmax.
  3. Attenuation and seismic hazard from small-to-moderate earthquakes. The regional ground motion prediction equation (GMPE) is updated. Hazard will be calculated using OpenQUAKE probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA). ​
  4. Communication and dissemination.

Work package leader(s)

  • Ludovic Fülöp, Principal Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Päivi Mäntyniemi, University Researcher, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki

Work package 2 (WP2) develops a general scheme for separating the seismic hazard related to induced seismicity and natural seismicity. WP2 consists of five subtasks listed below.

  1. Mapping of induced seismicity of the Otaniemi enhanced geothermal system (EGS)
  2. Development of induced earthquake ground motion prediction equation (GMPE)
  3. Amplification of ground shaking due to local soil profiles 
  4. Urban hazard maps including induced seismicity
  5. Communication and dissemination

Work packages leader(s)

  • Tommi Vuorinen, Seismologist, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki
  • Ludovic Fülöp, Principal Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Work package 3 (WP3) constructs a 3D surface wave tomography image of the subsurface structures of the target region. WP3 uses the data collected around the stimulations at the Otaniemi geothermal power plant in 2018 and 2020. WP3 consists of five subtask listed below.

  1. Collect, pre-process, and cross-correlate the data
  2. A surface wave model tomography model by Sisprobe
  3. Interpretation of tomography model (comparison with mapped lithology)
  4. Data management
  5. Communication and dissemiantion

Work package leader(s)

  • Gregor Hillers, Associate Professor, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki
  • Tommi Vuorinen, Seismologist, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki

Work package 4 (WP4) prepares a 3D geological model of the target region. WP4 compiles the continuous 3D dataset of the sub-surface geology within the Helsinki Capital Region, integrates the data set to a holistic 3D geological model that takes advantage of the properties of both the soil and the bedrock, and defines a soil classification for induced seismic risk estimation for the first time in Finland. The purpose of the 3D model deliverables is to be utilized as test platforms for assessing induced seismic risks related to construction of the geothermal power stations, and to provide ground truth data for the tomographic image (WP3) interpretation. WP4 consists of five subtasks listed below.

  1. A 3D integrated soil-bedrock surface model for Helsinki Capital Region 
  2. Local scale geological 3D model of the geothermal power station
  3. Defining a classification for seismic risk estimation
  4. Data Delivery
  5. Communication and dissemination

Work package leader(s)

  • Emilia Kosonen, Geologist, Geological Survey of Finland
  • Teemu Lindqvist, Geologist, Geological Survey of Finland

Work package 5 (WP5) collects data to assess the vulnerabilities of the building stock. WP5 consists of five subtasks listed below.

  1. Instrument pools to co-measure ground motion and in/building shaking
  2. Comparison and combination of different data sets
  3. Monitoring of building floors in Helsinki Capital Region
  4. Analyzing the urban building stock
  5. Communication and dissemination

Work Package Leader(s):

  • Ludovic Fülöp, Principal Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Tommi Vuorinen, Seismologist, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki

Work packages 6 (WP6) investigates the factors controlling disturbing earthquake-related sound patterns during stimulations. WP6 uses the seismic-wave propagation solver SeisSol to study the sound patterns induced by the stimulation at the Otaniemi geothermal power plant in 2018. WP6 conducts challenging high-frequency wave field simulations to assess the influence of the earthquake source mechanism, subsurface velocity variations, water bodies, and topography on sound patterns. WP6 consists of three subtasks listed below.

  1. Simulations of seismo-acoustic wave propagation 
  2. Comparison of seismo-acoustic wave propagation with geological 3D data
  3. Communication and dissemination

Work package leader(s)

  • Gregor Hillers, Associate Professor, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki
  • Päivi Mäntyniemi, University Researcher, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki

Work package 7 (WP7) manages the various datasets created during the project. The data includes seismic parameters and continuous time-series as well as results from 3D tomography, seismo-acoustic simulations, seismic hazard and risk estimations from other work packages within the project. The time-series data consists of velocity and acceleration seismograms. All data is transformed into formats, which are widely accepted and used in open access databases. All data will be Open Access (some data may have moratorium periods of maximum three years). WP7 consists of three subtasks listed below.

  1. Collecting data outcomes and processing data into formats suitable for open access databases
  2. Data Delivery to open databases (EPOS, GEOFON, ISC)
  3. Communication - Dissemination of new open data sets

Work packages leader(s)

  • Toni Veikkolainen, Seismologist, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki

Work package 8 (WP8) highlights the gaps in governing geothermal energy processes and how this phenomenon should be governed to foster sustainable and societally acceptable development. WP8 studies how different actors position themselves concerning risk management and how risk limits are defined. Then, WP8 investigates how citizens are informed about potential risks, and at which planning levels the information and involvement of citizens should take place when part of the risk is uncertainty about the extent and scale of potential risks. WP8 consists of three subtasks listed below.

  1. Situational awareness - the extent to which different actors have a common understanding of potential risks
  2. Governance coordination - who should be responsible for coordinating risk management
  3. Citizen empowerment - how citizens should be informed of potential risks.

The aim is to unearth how risks are defined and what kind of control management then becomes essential, in order to increase geothermal energy as safely as possible and in a socially acceptable way.

Work packages leader(s)

  • Pia Bäcklund, Associate Professor, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki
  • Johanna Tuomisaari, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki

 

The largest possible impact of the project is ensured by focusing on presenting the results in ways that they can be understood by all possible end users, as well as providing Open Access results for scientific purposes. Work package 9 (WP9) focuses on outreach and communication to the authorities and public; the scientific dissemination is included in each work package. The results from the WP8 can be used to find effective chains for communication as well as to identify possible end users of the results. WP9 consists of three subtasks listed below.

  1. Online information of the the project activities and results
  2. Communication with authorities
  3. Dissemination of scientific results to the society

Tasks are executed by hosting seminar lectures for regulators and officials as well as for general public; writing easily understandable, compact reports and data packages; sharing results for public in accessible websites and newspaper article; and combining educational packages and videos of highlighted topics of the research.

Work packages leader(s)

  • Niina Junno, Doctoral student/Project coordinator, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki
  • Kati Oinonen, Seismologist, Institute of Seismology, Department of geosciences and geography, University of Helsinki