The idea of artificially induced earthquakes sounds like a fantasy fantasy about Dr. Evil. Are not earthquakes caused by tectonic plate shifts? It is hard to believe that people can influence such unshakable properties of the planet. For a long time, everyone thought so, but nowadays there is more and more evidence to the contrary. We've all noticed a surge in earthquakes in recent years, and scientists have finally decided to figure out what's the matter.
The US Geological Survey claims that the frequency of earthquakes of magnitude 3 or more has increased by about 5 times since 2010, at least in America.
Scientists already know that there is a link between some waste disposal methods and mild earthquakes. And the construction of a large dam can lead to an unexpected displacement of the point of the center of mass of the reservoir to a new place in the earth's crust. Even conventional mining of coal or oil can erode weak areas of the crust.
However, there is something that can do even more harm than siphoning minerals from the bowels of the planet. We are talking about the reverse process - injection of substances into the ground. A new study by scientists has confirmed the connection of a series of small earthquakes in the area of the city of Snyder (Texas) with underground injection of CO2 gas. With this method of oil production, the injected gas penetrates into the smallest fractures in the rock, after which the formation fractures.
The researchers concluded that the pressure of the gas on the walls of the fractures in the rock could trigger an earthquake. For example, the city of Snyder, located next to an oil field, experienced 93 earthquakes, three of which were quite powerful.
Despite the fact that scientists provide evidence of a direct connection of underground "injections" with earthquakes, they also note that similar work in some other fields is quite calm. Probably, the ability of these methods to shake the ground also depends on the peculiarities of the underground structure of a particular field.