Yes, humans really are causing earthquakes

Yes, humans really are causing earthquakes

The central United States is experiencing an unprecedented surge in earthquakes that began in 2009, rising from an average of 21 magnitude 3 and larger quakes to over 650 in 2014 alone. This increased earthquake activity is found in just a few concentrated regions around the country, with the lion’s share in Oklahoma.

In 2014, there were more magnitude 3 and larger earthquakes in Oklahoma than there were in California. The increased earthquake activity is limited to areas of new and emerging oil and gas production and is undoubtedly caused by some of the techniques they use.

With a focus on oil and gas production and related techniques, I will discuss the many ways that humans can cause earthquakes.

In the case of fluid injection, the primary source of the recent increase in earthquake rate, the fluid pressure increase from injection can be transferred many miles from the injection point. This fluid-pressure increase, in effect, lubricates the faults, making them more prone to slipping in earthquakes.

Recent research shows that the rate at which injection occurs strongly influences whether earthquakes will be induced. Areas with higher injection rates are more likely to have induced earthquakes. Other parameters, like the total volume injected and the depth of injection, are also believed to affect the likelihood of induced earthquakes. Additionally, local geological conditions are important. Despite similar injection practices, there is very little injection-induced seismicity in North Dakota in stark contrast to Oklahoma.

Given that these earthquakes are human-caused, there is hope that they can be minimized or even stopped. Slowing or stopping injection, changing injection depths, or trucking fluids to other locations have all been suggested as ways to curb induced seismicity. Regulators in a number of states have taken notice of the increased seismicity and are taking action to reduce the likelihood of damaging temblors.

With future research to improve our understanding of fluid-injection induced earthquakes, we may be able to reduce their likelihood, something that is not possible for natural earthquakes. To accomplish this, though, it will require cooperation between all the stakeholders, including academic scientists, regulators, and the oil and gas industry.

Presenter: IRIS Distinguished Lecturer Justin Rubenstein, USGS Induced Seismicity Project.

Video courtesy IRIS EPO

Source: IRIS EPO


Juliane Adams 4 years ago

I have heard of this groundwater contamination caused in the fracking process. We know someone who works in North Dakota. This is such a crime. Also the local farmers can't protect themselves against this injection of bad water. Our friend told us, that farmers who are against it may not get that contaminated water injected vertically on their land, but it can get done from a distance in a sideways fashion. If that is true and this is happening, that is a crime. When You think how extremely beautiful the earth is, God can not watch this harming the earth without giving us consequences. I am so extremely saddened by this greed. I Israel they have this invention of electric cars that You charge at these charging stations. These electric cars drive quietly without gas or bad fumes. That seems so much less harmful to the environment. They are also a country where a lot of bird migration happens back and forth .They even adjust their plane flights with regard to the birds. Now that's what I call respect of nature. Your's truly, Juliane Adams

Abdullah Abdullah 4 years ago

May Allah protect Oklahoma from the fracking even though the people are mostly infidels who choose to be ignorant of the ravages of the oil and gas industry!

Kevin Elliott 4 years ago

What information is this based on? I could claim that snow fairies cause them and be closer to the truth you blanket lie.

AntiLieGuy 4 years ago

I suppose humans are causing all the volcano eruptions too? And all the quakes and eruptions on all the planets in our solar system?
The lies are so stupid.
The entire government are evil treasonous criminals. The day of the next false flag using the nuke they stole in 2007 and blamed on Iran, America will be destroyed by Russia, China and the SCO. This is the war of Armageddon and you can know it is now because of Planet X and the toxic chemtrails that hide it every day. Planet X will end the war when it rips the earth apart again but 90% of Americans will be dead already. All planned by your evil government.

Teo Blašković (@AntiLieGuy) 4 years ago

At least read the introduction before you make such comments, please.

---> With a focus on oil and gas production and related techniques, I [the presenter] will discuss the many ways that humans can cause earthquakes. <----

Bad Santa 4 years ago

I am speachless. Comparing to finite universe, human stupidity seems infinite.

Karen 4 years ago

This article isn't worthy of this website.
Anything to mask/hide the very real fact that the earths poles are shifting. Rarely if anything at all is ever mentioned about it, except for one article I've read where these shameful scientists have even attempted to blame mankind for this too. It's Just ridiculous.

Teo Blašković (@Karen) 4 years ago

Hey Karen, thanks.. but this piece is about fracking! Not about masking or hiding pole shift.

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