Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Science & Technology: Modeling the Link Between Water Reinjection and Seismic Activity

Modeling the Effects of Wastewater Injection (California Institute of Technology)

Earth scientists develop a model to estimate the largest possible quake in a given location that could be caused by the disposal of water used in hydraulic fracturing

Previous attempts to model the relationship between injection of wastewater and the triggering of earthquakes suggested that the maximum magnitude of the seismic activity induced in this way would be proportional to the volume of the fluids injected.

However, this interpretation fails to account for the fact that earthquakes can grow beyond the area impacted by fluid pressure, says Jean Paul Ampuero, professor of seismology at Caltech and co-author of a new study on the topic that appears in the journal Science Advances on December 20.

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(Thanks to GRC Member Marcelo Lippmann, Staff Scientist (retired) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the submission.)