An Overview of Microseismic Imaging of Hydraulic Fracturing

Reservoir Descriptions and Dynamics

Course Description

This course is a survey of microseismic imaging of hydraulic fracturing. It is designed to give the attendees a rudimentary understanding of this technology based on the science at its foundation, the means and methods by which it is carried out, and the benefits it brings to the users. Since this technology is interdisciplinary, combining geophysics, geology, and geomechanics with well completion technologies, the goal of the course is to give attendees the knowledge and realistic expectations of microseismic imaging of hydraulic fracturing. To this end attendees should expect to become knowledgeable and discerning users, evaluators, and questioners of those vending this technology.


  • How it began—colliding disciplines: hydraulic fracturing technology-meets-pressure-induced microseismicity
  • Overview of material science, geomechanics, rock mechanics, fracture mechanics, andgeology
  • Technology of hydraulic fracture stimulations
  • In Situ studies of hydraulic fracturing
  • Seismology and microseismology
  • Microseismic Imaging—its how’s and why’s and more than “dots on a page”
  • Case studies, FAQs, and misconceptions
  • Discussion, Q&A

Learning Level


Course Length

2 Days

Why Attend

From its beginning, microseismic imaging of hydraulic fracturing has created controversy. It typically shows a flow network much more complicated than the traditional paradigm of a single, vertical, planar, elliptical fracture. This course is designed to give an understanding of the foundation of the “ground truth” from microseismic imaging data, an appreciation for the implementation and benefits of the technology, and an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the technology.

Who Attends

Any oil and gas professional interested in hydraulic fracturing and diagnosis.


1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 2-day course.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14 day window will not be refunded.  Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page.  Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will.  Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.

Full regional cancellation policies can be found at the Cancellation Policy page within the SPE Training Course Catalog.


Kenneth D. Mahrer is chief scientist at SIGMA3. His principal function is preparing documents that build the full picture of microseismicity and hydraulic fracture stimulations. His career has included a diversity of positions including a member of the first team in the oil and gas industry to evaluate microseismic monitoring as a diagnostic tool for hydraulic fracturing. He also was a member of the team that monitored, mapped, and characterized the microseismicity induced by the world’s deepest, continuous, high-pressure injection well. Prior to SIGMA3, he was a principle geophysicist in the microseismic mapping group at Weatherford.

Mahrer was a technical editor for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) for 17 years and has been a technical editor for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) since 2000. In addition, he is presently an editor for the Hydraulic Fracture Quarterly. He wrote two columns for the SEG journal The Leading Edge, “The Writer’s Block” on improving technical writing and “Bright Spots” summarizing technical articles appearing in the SEG journal Geophysics. In addition to teaching short courses on technical writing, Mahrer teaches short courses on microseismicity and hydraulic fracturing. He holds BS and MS degrees in physics, a PhD in geophysics from Stanford University, and two post-doctoral fellowships in fracture mechanics.