A New Method to Preventing Human-Induced Earthquakes Caused by the Oil and Gas Industry

By Jennifer Chu. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
July 29, 2021

Earthquake Seismic Events

Researchers have found a way to reduce earthquakes triggered by wastewater injection following oil and gas processes such as drilling and fracking. Credit: MIT

Applied in the field, a new model reduced quakes from oil and gas processes; could help manage seismic events from carbon sequestration.

When humans pump large volumes of fluid into the ground, they can set off potentially damaging earthquakes, depending on the underlying geology. This has been the case in certain oil- and gas-producing regions, where wastewater, often mixed with oil, is disposed of by injecting it back into the ground — a process that has triggered sizable seismic events in recent years.

Now DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03668-z

This research was supported, in part, by Eni.