NS  Vol.7 No.9 , September 2015
Mechanism of Intraplate Earthquakes and Anthropogenic Causes in USA
Author(s) Marilia Hagen
ABSTRACT
In this paper we carried out an investigation about the possible causes for the enhancement of earthquakes in USA the last seven years. Our statistical and physical models indicated that the increased evolution of events in the country depends from the human actions. For further analysis we divided the country into three main seismological regions: western, central and, eastern. We roughly classified the areas by their thickness of Earth’s crust in a variation 25-45-25 km. The thickest area is in the mid-continent and most of this region are part of the Great Plains. In our study we are going to investigate the reason for the Mississippi Lime in Oklahoma a very thick area, started an unusual earthquake activity since 2010, most at Oklahoma/Kansas border. In this region also there are many anthropogenic activities concerning with the waste water wells and more than 4000 of them are active in the state. Wastewater disposal wells typically operate for longer duration and inject much more fluid than hydraulic fracturing, making them more likely to induce earthquakes. Enhanced oil recovery injects fluid into rock layers where oil and gas have already been extracted, while wastewater injection often occurs in never-before-touched rocks. Therefore, wastewater injection can raise pressure levels more than enhanced oil recovery, and thus increases the likelihood of induced earthquakes. Most injection wells do not trigger felt earthquakes. A combination of many factors is necessary for injection to induce felt earthquakes. These include the injection rate and total volume injected; the presence of faults or unknown fractures that are large enough to produce felt earthquakes; stresses that are large enough to produce earthquakes; and the presence of pathways for the fluid pressure to travel from the injection point to faults. Finally other causes of human action triggering earthquakes fluid injection, hydraulic fracturing, enhanced oil recovery, mining, nuclear explosions, some of them will be mentioned and investigated in this paper. We also intend to explain why not all the waste wells are triggering earthquakes and how it would be strongly attached to the unevenness of the Earth’s crust.

Cite this paper
Hagen, M. (2015) Mechanism of Intraplate Earthquakes and Anthropogenic Causes in USA. Natural Science, 7, 459-474. doi: 10.4236/ns.2015.79047.
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