KGS earthquake researchers publish article on assessing ground motions from induced earthquakes
Earthquakes caused by injection of wastewater from oil and gas development, including hydraulic fracturing, have been in the news during the past few years. Since 2009, the number of induced earthquakes–with magnitudes as high as 5.6–has increased significantly in Oklahoma and other states where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and wastewater injection related to oil and gas production occur.
An article by KGS scientists Zhenming Wang, Seth Carpenter, Lifang Zhang , and Edward Woolery titled “Assessing Potential Ground-Motion Hazards from Induced Earthquakes” was recently published in the peer reviewed journal Natural Hazards Review. The article notes that the main hazard from induced earthquakes is ground motion. But, assessing ground motion is not easy “because there are large uncertainties...in the estimates of the locations, magnitudes, and recurrence intervals of earthquakes, as well as ground motion,” according to the article’s abstract, available here.
The article also emphasizes that communicating ground-motion hazards to the public and government officials can be difficult, because of different approaches to assessing the hazard, the level of uncertainty involved, and the complexity of the mathematical techniques used.
By using scenario-based seismic-hazard analysis, Wang and his co-authors account for factors such as earthquake source characteristics, ground-motion propagation, and uncertainties, which also makes it easier to communicate the hazard in a way that the pubic and officials can understand and use for public safety purposes.
Interested readers can contact Zhenming Wang for a copy of the complete article. He can be reached at Zhenming.email@example.com or (859) 323-0564.
Wang is the Geologic Hazards section head at KGS. His co-authors are Seth Carpenter, a seismologist in the KGS Geologic Hazards section; Lifang Zhang, an associate research professor at the Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, in Beijing, and a visiting scholar at KGS; and Edward Woolery, a professor in the UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and part-time KGS scientist.