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Injection-induced earthquakes

Science

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DOI: 10.1126/science.1225942

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Abstract

Earthquakes in unusual locations have become an important topic of discussion in both North America and Europe, owing to the concern that industrial activity could cause damaging earthquakes. It has long been understood that earthquakes can be induced by impoundment of reservoirs, surface and underground mining, withdrawal of fluids and gas from the subsurface, and injection of fluids into underground formations. Injection-induced earthquakes have, in particular, become a focus of discussion as the application of hydraulic fracturing to tight shale formations is enabling the production of oil and gas from previously unproductive formations. Earthquakes can be induced as part of the process to stimulate the production from tight shale formations, or by disposal of wastewater associated with stimulation and production. Here, I review recent seismic activity that may be associated with industrial activity, with a focus on the disposal of wastewater by injection in deep wells; assess the scientific understanding of induced earthquakes; and discuss the key scientific challenges to be met for assessing this hazard.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Injection-induced earthquakes
Series title:
Science
DOI:
10.1126/science.1225942
Volume
341
Issue:
6142
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Contributing office(s):
Earthquake Science Center
Description:
2 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Science
First page:
142
Last page:
143