Filling in the Blanks To Limit Earthquake Risks

Topics: HSSE-SR
Source: RPSEA 12122.
Maps plot the earthquake epicenters over maps showing various versions of gravity and magnetic studies.

It is known that a well injecting a lot of water near a big fault can lead to earthquakes. The problem is, more often than not those faults are not known until after a tremor.

“Only 34% of these earthquakes occur within 2 km of any known fault,” said Jeremy Boak, director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, which is working on multiple studies to describe and understand how water injection activates critically stressed faults to cause earthquakes.

“We are learning where many faults are,” Boak said at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists annual meeting this spring, where he delivered a paper (2017) along with researchers from Texas, Kansas, and Colorado talking about what they are doing to fill the knowledge gaps.

While the Oklahoma Geological Survey is not a regulator, its work has guided what the state has done to reduce the number of earthquakes by limiting injection in those areas with the most problems.

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Filling in the Blanks To Limit Earthquake Risks

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 September 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 9