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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Can nuclear explosions cause earthquakes?

A nuclear explosion can cause an earthquake and even an aftershock sequence. However, earthquakes induced by explosions have been much smaller than the explosion, and the aftershock sequence produces fewer and smaller aftershocks than a similar size earthquake. Not all explosions have caused earthquakes. The range of a possible earthquake...

How can you tell the difference between an explosion and an earthquake on a seismogram?

Explosions and earthquakes both release a large amount of energy very quickly, and both can be recorded by seismic instruments. However, because the forces involved in each are very different, the waveforms that each creates look different. Nuclear tests are very near the surface of the earth; all of the energy is released from a small volume...

What is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and what is the role of seismology in monitoring it?

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. Seismology is one of several fields which plays a role in monitoring...
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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