Can we use a lot of explosives to cause small earthquakes in order to prevent having large ones?

No. Even huge amounts of explosive almost never cause even small earthquakes, and it would take hundreds and thousands of small earthquakes to equal a large one, even if it could be done. In addition, we wouldn't have any control over the size of the earthquake being created if it worked, since small and large earthquakes all start out in exactly the same way. It's just not physically possible.

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What is the role of seismology in monitoring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?

Seismology is one of several fields which plays a role in monitoring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Underground nuclear explosions produce seismic waves with unique characteristics which allow the discrimination between explosions and earthquakes. Learn more: UC Berkeley: Automated Moment Tensor Software for Monitoring the Comprehensive Test...

What are the differences between explosions and earthquakes?

Both earthquakes and nuclear tests can rapidly release a large amount of energy. The energy source for small yield (typically less than 50 kilotons) thermonuclear devices is the splitting of heavy radioactive isotopes. This process produces about 20 million times the energy of each reacting atom in a chemical explosive. The energy source for an...

What is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)?

On September 10, 1996, the United Nations General Assembly voted 158-3 to approve a treaty prohibiting all nuclear tests. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has been signed by 130 nations - including the United States. President Clinton signed the agreement on September 24, 1996. Learn more: UC Berkeley: Automated Moment Tensor Software for...

Can nuclear explosions cause earthquakes?

On January 19, 1968, a thermonuclear test, codenamed Faultless , took place in the Central Nevada Supplemental Test Area. The codename turned out to be a poor choice of words because a fresh fault rupture some 1200 meters long was produced. Seismographic records showed that the seismic waves produced by the fault movement were much less energetic...
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Date published: September 8, 2016

Possible Explosion of Magnitude 5.3 in North Korea

A possible explosion of magnitude 5.3 occurred in North Korea on September 9, 2016 at 00:30:01 UTC (9:00 am local time).

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Image: Mine Blast at Silver Bell Mine, Arizona
January 1, 2010

Mine Blast at Silver Bell Mine, Arizona

Mine Blast at Silver Bell Mine, Arizona.

Seismic refraction source explosion
October 31, 2004

Seismic refraction source detonation

Detonation of explosive source for active-source seismic refraction experiment in the Dead Sea region, Jordan, Israel. 

Image: Full View of the San Andreas Fault

Full View of the San Andreas Fault

Full view of the ground with the San Andreas fault running through the middle of the image. A 30 foot steam offset from the 1857 earthquake can be seen near the right edge of the image.

Attribution: Natural Hazards