Simulation of fluid pressure increases from injection into a reservoir
One Earth process the USGS simulates is how fluids flow from an injection well. Simulating fluid flow allows us to see how the fluid pressure underground changes in response to injection. Fluid pressure increases within faults are believed to be the main cause of induced earthquakes. A simulation of a scenario similar to injection in Oklahoma shows a detectable rise in fluid pressure out to 5 miles away from the well. After ten years that same pore pressure change can be seen at nearly 15 miles. Based on simulations like this, the USGS can evaluate whether pressure changes at a given location such as a known fault would be large enough to cause an earthquake.