Scientists have known for at least 50 years that earthquakes are sometimes induced or triggered by various human activities, including injection of waste fluids into deep wells and the filling of deep manmade lakes and reservoirs. However, recent widespread interest in this phenomenon only began after a series of earthquakes occurred in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2008-2009, followed by apparently-induced earthquakes in various other locations, including Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, British Columbia, and Great Britain. Although both government regulators and the operators of injection disposal wells would like to find simple physical models that govern induced seismicity, the observations indicate that the relationship between production/injection and seismicity differs at each location. This is perhaps unsurprising given that subsurface geology, hydrology and stress varies regionally. In the future it is likely that there will be increased efforts to collect better information about the subsurface near injection wells, and this will make it possible to construct more accurate geomechanical models of the phenomenon.
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule