Category Archives: Announcements

ISTI’s Rapid Notification Service in Oklahoma helps Operators meet new Oklahoma Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations that Require Seismic Monitoring

On February 27, 2018, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) announced new seismic monitoring requirements for minimizing felt induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing operations in the SCOOP/STACK play. The new requirements state that operators must have access to a seismic monitoring array.  They must take action at magnitue 2.0 (Richter scale) and pause for 6 hours at magnitude 2.5. This is a 0.5 reduction in magnitude levels from previous regulations.

News articles in Oil Price, Reuters, and Bloomberg News and in local Oklahoma media outlets KFOR, Tulsa World, and The Oklahoman are already reporting that operators are taking the new regulations seriously and are installing private networks like those installed and operated by ISTI and it’s partners (HMSC, Inc and GEObit). ISTI can help operators in this region with our real-time monitoring networks for the duration of their completions or for an entire field-wide view using our Rapid Notification Service (RNS) product. ISTI’s Oklahoma and Kansas subscription based RNS provides operators with the information to act before regulators react to any events that may be caused by their completion operations.  An example is a recent 2.1 magnitude earthquake; subscribers were notified within 2 minutes after it occurred (see event map with locating stations below). As a result of the rapid information, nearby operators could modify their well treatment plans for the next stages and attempt to mitigate further larger events.

The cost of being shut-down temporarily for any nuisance earthquakes can be quite high for operators. Rapid information provided by ISTI’s service can allow operators to take action before being required to pause or curtail operations. While the hazard of earthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing is low, there is still the potential for it to trigger larger felt earthquakes as has been observed in Canada. Operators, on the other hand, can mitigate impact to their businesses by taking proper precautions.

Rapid Earthquake Notification Service: Timely Support to Key States

Operators can increase their response time with ISTI’s Rapid Earthquake Notification Service. Automated reports are further validated by the seismologist on watch.  Operators receive data tailored to their acreage & operation.

ISTI provides the tools for oil and gas operators to receive the rapid earthquake information, often critical to satisfying regulations. The service provides rapid earthquake notification information in the Central and Eastern USA, covering the states of Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

ISTI provides two levels of 24/7 email notification service to industry operators: basic and premium service levels.  For either service we can rapidly notify within 60 seconds of an earthquake in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Service - RapidEarthquakeNotification - Chart hi res For other other states where induced seismicity is an hotbed issue, like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, ISTI provides rapid earthquake notifications in less than 120 seconds of an event occurring.  ISTI uses a finely-tuned automated earthquake detection and reporting system configured for seismic stations operating in the Central and Eastern USA.

Read more here.

Induced Seismicity: AGI Webinar, 14 April 2017

State Responses to Induced Earthquakes

Join Steven Dade for his AGI OhioNET: State of Ohio’s Response to Induced Seismicity talk, which will include examples of ISTI’s tools and services, including:

  • Map View HypocentersOhioNET Earthworm System
  • Plot of Induced Seismic Events
  • Depth and Map Views of Hypocenters

Steve Dade is a Geologist from Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management.  He will be joined by Jeremy Boak and Michael H. Young, experts from the state
governments in Oklahoma and Texas, respectively.  Each will present on state responses to induced earthquakes at the AGI Policy & Critical Issues Webinar.


AGIFriday, April 14, 2017 at 2:00pm ET

Recorded AGI Webinar

AGI Policy & Critical Issues webinar

Background: The surge in recent years of earthquake activity associated with some oil and gas operations, most notably in Oklahoma, has spurred a range of actions and responses from state geoscientists and regulators. States have taken measures to monitor these earthquakes and moderate the activities that may be causing them, particularly the deep underground injection of large volumes of wastewater. Many states with extensive oil and gas operations but little or no increased earthquake activity have also adopted practices to prevent and prepare for potential induced earthquakes in their area.

The speakers are:

  • Jeremy Boak, Ph.D., Director, Oklahoma Geological Survey, Mewbourne College of Earth & Energy, University of Oklahoma
  • Michael H. Young, Ph.D., Associate Director for Environment, Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin
  • Steven Dade, Geologist 2, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management

ISTI Presenting at SSA, 18-20 April 2017

SSA 2017ISTI is presenting  at the Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting, being held in Denver, Colorado, 18 – 20 April 2017.  The ISTI presenters welcome anyone attending the SSA annual meeting to stop by and chat with them.

View the ISTI poster schedule and abstract links below.

Ben Baker & Josh Stachnik, Presented by Ben Baker An Alternate Noise Parameterization for Moment Tensor Estimation Tues., 18 April TBA – Poster #8
Ben Baker (ISTI) & Steven W. Roecker, (RPI), Presented by Steven W. Roecker The Lower Crust and Upper Mantle Beneath the Tien Shan from Full Waveform Tomography Wed.,  19 April TBA – Poster #8
Paul Friberg & Ilya Dricker (ISTI), Maria Kozlowska & Michael Brudzinski (Miami Univ.), Presented by Ilya Dricker 2016 Observations and Mitigation Strategies for Hydraulic Fracture Induced Seismicity Wed.,  19 April TBA – Poster #6


Insurance of Seismic Monitoring

ISTI CEO, Paul Friberg, monitors seismic activity for a client from his office.

ISTI CEO, Paul Friberg, monitors seismic activity for a client from his office.

With increased regulations to strengthen the monitoring of seismic activity in the U.S. and abroad, companies using hydraulic fracturing face risk of well closure if they do not employ effective monitoring.  Two U.S. companies are rising to the challenge.  Armed with a team of experts in using the U.S. Government’s EarthWorm Seismic Monitoring system and coupled with proprietary techniques, ISTI and its partner HMSC Inc equips companies with Geobit instruments to meet their exploration and regulatory monitoring needs.

img_2988b“If you are completing a hydraulic fracture well in a region where there is potential to induce seismicity,” says CEO and Senior Seismologist Paul Friberg, “ISTI can help to try and prevent you from getting shut-down by using seismic monitoring to alert you as events start to appear or get larger. The insurance of monitoring is far cheaper than the cost of temporary shut-in or worse.”  ISTI uses HMSC Inc to deploy the Geobit equipment in the field for each client (photos at bottom).  The seismic equipment collects critical data, which is then transmitted to ISTI’s seismologists and software to model and interpret.  The team then configures and maintains continuous real-time monitoring systems.  ISTI is not new to this science by any means, boasting over 20 years real-time seismic monitoring.  Customers include some of the largest research institutions, NGOs and E&P companies doing cutting edge work.

The trend of companies, strategically hiring teams of experts such as ISTI, has grown with increasing regulations.  It is vital for those positioned in states like Oklahoma and Ohio, for example, to satisfy fracking regulations in order to operate.  In Ohio, a seismic monitoring plan is required for any horizontal well drilled within 3 miles of either a known fault in the Precambrian basement or a seismic event greater than 2 magnitude that occurred since 1999.  Completion activities are required to stop if an event as low as 2.0M is detected, threatening their project deadlines.  600 miles away, in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Geological Survey is meeting an anticipation of increased operations with guidelines focused on hydraulic fracturing. Mitigation procedures are required of businesses for magnitudes as low as 2.5M within 1.25 miles of hydro-fracking sites.  Companies face suspension of operations at 3.5M.

With such increased governance, penalties and even press exposure, it is in the best interest of hydraulic fracturing or waste water injection firms to gain greater intelligence on seismic activity.   ISTI’s services have already provided valuable data to operators of injection wells and producers in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utica shale-play regions.  ISTI’s data can be monitored by any mobile device, and email or text alerts are sent when a seismic event is triggered, or equipment malfunctions. Such detection can provide operators with the knowledge necessary to help minimize risks and economical losses.  Sometimes, this can be accomplished by making simple adjustments to pumping rates and pressure that might otherwise have resulted in large


The field crew’s view when looking back from a day’s work installing equipment for a customer.

activity. Knowing that they have made a positive difference for both the environment and for each customer’s business, ISTI staff can look back on their days’ work and feel good.




ISTI Presents at AGU in San Francisco, December 2016

agu-poster-dec-2016-grid-search-approachISTI is presenting  at the AGU Fall Meeting being held in San Francisco, 12-16 December 2016. In addition, ISTI welcomes you to visit our team at our AGU exhibit (booth 1115) throughout the week.

View the ISTI poster schedule and abstract links below.

Paul A Friberg (w/ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory presenters) S23C-2791: Modernization of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Seismic Processing Infrastructure Tues., 13 Dec. 13:40 – 18:00
Ilya Dricker (w/CTBTO presenters) S31A-2696: IMS Seismic and Infrasound Stations Instrumental Challenges Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Ben Baker (w/Univ. of Washington and USGS presenters) S31C-2781: Refined modeling of Seattle basin amplification Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Kirill Khrustalev S31A-2691: Improvements in Calibration and Analysis of the CTBT-relevant Radioxenon Isotopes with High Resolution SiPIN-based Electron Detectors Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Josh Stachnick & Ben Baker (w/CTBTO presenter) S31A-2704: An Improved Method for Seismic Event Depth and Moment Tensor Determination: CTBT Related Application Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Josh Stachnick & Ben Baker   (w/ JAMSTEC and CTBTO presenters) S33E-05: Synthetic seismograms of Jan. 6, 2016 DPRK event calculated by the Earth Simulator Wed.,  14 Dec. 15:18 – 15:33
Paul A Friberg S43C-2888: 2016 Hydrofracture Induced Earthquakes in Ohio Thurs., 15 Dec. 13:40 – 18:00
Paul A Friberg, Josh Stachnick & Ben Baker S51E-3176: Moment Tensor Estimation using a Grid-Search approach for the Pawnee, Oklahoma Mw 5.8 Earthquake Fri.,      16 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20

*All take place at Moscone South, Poster Hall


ISTI is also mentioned in the LASSO poster for the software we developed for IRIS.


ISTI presents at the EGU in Vienna and SSA in Reno

ISTI is one of 4 sponsors for the SSA meeting being held in Reno Nevada this week, April 20-22, 2016. With HMSC we are co-sponsoring the annual luncheon on Wednesday.

ISTI’s Paul Friberg is presenting in the induced seismicity session at 8:30AM on Wednesday. The abstract for Paul’s talk can be reached via the link below.


We are also present at the EGU meeting in Vienna. Meet up with Josh Stachnik in Vienna at the EGU this week where he is co-author on a poster on Nuclear Test Depth Determination with Synthetic Modelling: Global Analysis from PNEs to DPRK-2016.

FAQ About North Korea’s Claims that it Detonated a Nuclear Bomb

Questions and Answers About North Korea’s Claims that it Detonated a Nuclear Bomb

How does one measure the size of a nuclear or hydrogen bomb explosion?
The size of any seismic event is determined from the amplitude of the waves recorded at stations of varying distance from the event.  The seismic magnitude is determined independent of the source type. The absolute amplitude of arriving body waves and surfaces waves are needed to determine the size of the event.  The Earth also modifies the seismic waves as they travel from the source to each receiver, so some information about Earth structure is also needed.  One of the largest pieces to determining the size or yield of an explosion is the depth of the event.  This key piece of information is used in converting seismic magnitude to the amount of explosive material needed to make a potential bomb.

What are the tell tale signs?
Man-made explosions are detonated very close to the Earth surface.  Seismically, this means that certain seismic surface waves should be recorded and, in contrast, certain seismic “depth” phases are not likely to be present in the seismograms.  Depth phases are upgoing waves that bounce off the Earth’s surface and are accurate indicators of the source event depth. In addition, explosive sources produce a different signal which is outward everywhere. This is different than earthquakes which are sliding motions on faults where motions will be different depending on where the observation is made.

When will experts be able to confirm what actually happened?
As soon as possible. Ok, the seismic component of the forensics is probably the most straightforward.  All the seismic data are in-hand and agencies are working on the determining the depth of the event to better estimate the yield (kilotons).  The noble gas and radionuclide airborne detectors will be the most key in determining the exact nature of the explosion, whether it is really a thermonuclear event or not.  This analysis should be complete within a few days.  Other news agencies have been reporting that some countries will be doing air surveys to collect more data.  In the end, it’s likely that no single agency will possess all the available data on this event.  Each country and agency determines what happened based on the information they have available.  Not everybody shares well.

If it wasn’t a hydrogen bomb, what was it?

The explosion measures [5.1] on the Richter scale, that is the equivalent of about 10 kilotons of TNT (smaller than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WWII). The seismic impact of a Hydrogen bomb likely would be much bigger, so there is legitimate doubt about what actually took place. It’s possible the bomb tested was relatively small, failed, or that the explosion was created with chemical explosives, or conventional atomic bomb. It’s difficult to say what type of bomb it was from the seismic signal and more in-depth analysis of potential radionuclides that escaped from the blast could tell.

How many seismic events around the world raise legitimate concern of nuclear or hydrogen explosion on a yearly basis? Is this number rising or falling or staying constant?

There have been well upwards of 2,000 nuclear explosions recorded since 1945. North Korea is believed to have detonated nuclear bombs in four separate tests since 2006. Other nations are believed to be building or maintaining undisclosed nuclear programs like North Korea’s, but the number of measureable tests associated with these programs is irregular.