Earthquakes Induced by Fluid Injection

No. Of more than 150,000 Class II injection wells in the United States, roughly 40,000 are waste fluid disposal wells for oil and gas operations. Only a small fraction of these disposal wells have induced earthquakes that are large enough to be of...
Currently, there are no methods available to do this. Evidence from some case histories suggests that the magnitude of the largest earthquake tends to increase as the total volume of injected wastewater increases. Injection pressure may also be a factor...
Earth's crust is pervasively fractured at depth by faults. These faults can sustain high stresses without slipping because natural "tectonic" stress and the weight of the overlying rock pushes the opposing fault blocks together, increasing the frictional...
Of the case histories for which there is a scientific consensus that an injection operation induced earthquakes, the largest are magnitude*5. At the Rocky Mountain Arsenal well, near Denver, Colorado, a large volume of wastewater was injected between...
No. Given enough time, the injected fluids can migrate substantial horizontal and vertical distances from the injection location. Induced earthquakes commonly occur several kilometers below the injection point. In some cases, the induced earthquakes have...
There is a credible connection between the wastewater injection activities near Youngstown and the recent earthquakes, including the magnitude 4 earthquake that occurred on New Year’s Eve, 2011. This connection is based on the close proximity of the...
To produce natural gas from shale formations, it is necessary to increase the interconnectedness of the pore space (permeability) of the shale so that the gas can flow through the rock mass and be extracted through production wells. This is usually done...
USGS supports both internal and external (university-based) research on the causes of induced earthquakes. This research has a focus on injection-induced earthquakes, both from wastewater disposal and from enhanced geothermal technologies. USGS and its...