Induced Earthquakes in the 21st Century

Event Details

Induced Earthquakes in the 21st Century

Time: April 29, 2015 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Location: Sutardja Dai Hall (CITRIS), Banatao Auditorium, UC Berkeley
City/Town: Berkeley
Website or Map: http://earthquakes.berkeley.e…
Event Type: lecture
Organized By: University of California Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
Latest Activity: Apr 14, 2015

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Event Description

Earthquakes triggered by human activities have been documented for over half a century, but the past decade has seen a resurgence of induced earthquakes associated with energy resources. In 2006, a M3.4 earthquake occurred during geothermal energy development in Basel, Switzerland, causing the project to be abandoned. In 2009, concerns about triggered earthquakes in the Geysers, California contributed to the early termination of an experimental exploitation effort. New technologies (e.g., fracking) allow hydrocarbons to be recovered from shale formations; however, injection of water produced from the shale has the potential to trigger earthquakes. Plans to reduce greenhouse gas in the atmosphere by deep CO2 injection would require such massive injection volumes that it may set off earthquakes. In all of these ways, induced seismicity is a problem that impacts future energy options, so it is important to understand it. The phenomenon of induced earthquakes also raises interesting questions. How can we tell induced earthquakes from naturally occurring, tectonic earthquakes? How can we predict where they are likely to occur? How can we mitigate the risk associated with induced earthquakes? How should induced earthquakes be treated in existing policy - from quantifying seismic hazard to mitigating the consequences of earthquakes? In this talk I will review recent instances of induced seismicity, and summarize the state of the science seeking to answer these questions.

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