Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Study links fluid-injection sites to seismic activity

On July 12, 2013, Science Magazine published a study linking seismic activity in the Midwest to wastewater injection. The study found that injecting large amounts of wastewater not only increased the chance of locally occurring seismic activity, but also increased the likelihood of earthquakes triggered by large remote earthquakes. Previous studies demonstrated that wastewater injection, when not monitored correctly, could induce seismic activity because of increased pore pressures in fault lines. Now, however, the scientists involved believe regions that have undergone wastewater injection for an extended duration (decades) are at an increased risk of “triggered” seismic activity caused by large earthquakes potentially on the other side of the world. The remote triggering, the study says, was demonstrated by earthquakes that occurred in Snyder, TX, Prague, OK, and Trinidad, CO, which were all linked to larger earthquakes occurring outside their region by the study.

For more information on the study, visit sciencemag.org

Written by: Garrett Lent, Research Assistant
Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
July 2013

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