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Author Topic: Can earthquakes be induced by pumping electricity into the ground?  (Read 3763 times)

Offline Joe L. Ogan

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Can earthquakes be induced by pumping electricity into the ground?  Would it be possible to nullify the effects of a large earthquake by setting off smaller earthquakes?  Has this ever been done?  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan


 

Offline LeeE

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Pumping electricity into the ground

Earthing it, do you mean? ;)

Dunno about 'setting off' small earthquakes.  Although the idea has been mooted in the past, I don't know if it's ever actually been tried.  Even 'small' earthquakes liberate a huge amount of energy so I'd expect you'd need some pretty mucking big (and destructive) explosions to trigger them.  I'd guess there's also the possibility that the 'small' earthquake you were intending to trigger might turn out to be a lot bigger than you expected, which wouldn't please people in the region.
 

Offline Geezer

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Let's move this one to Geology and see what the Geoligists think. I know they are familiar with pumping gas and liquid into the ground.
 

Offline Bass

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Let's move this one to Geology and see what the Geoligists think. I know they are familiar with pumping gas and liquid into the ground.

JimBob knows more about pumping gas and liquids into the ground- or at least pumping everything full of hot air!

A military base near Denver pumped began pumping waste fluids down wells several decades ago.  Seismologists noted a sharp increase in minor earthquakes around the base.  Further studies showed that the fluids were lubricating pre-existing faults and allowing them to slip.

A proposal was put forward to drill a series of wells along the San Andreas, pump a series dry and then pump water down the center well.  The hope was that the fluid would create a minor earthquake and that the surrounding dry holes would keep the slip in check.  Thankfully, the plan was never implemented- who knows what could have been set off in some of the areas of intense strain.

Not sure that electrical impulses would affect earthquakes- never seen any research on the subject?  In my opinion, I don't think that an electrical pulse would have any sort of effect on quakes.
 

Offline Geezer

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I seem to remember some discussion about piezoelectric effects http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity associated with earthquakes possibly generating detectable electric fields. If that is true, it might be possible to induce some strain in rocks by electric means, but I have no idea how that would be done, or what the outcome might be if it were possible.
 

Offline JimBob

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quick answer = NO

Fluids pumped into the ground can only cause small quakes. The hydrolic pressure needed to move mega megatons of rock is too much for any known pumps
« Last Edit: 14/02/2010 00:16:58 by JimBob »
 

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