TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Artificial quakes cause less shaking, study finds

By The Associated Press
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, 8:21 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Man-made earthquakes, a side effect of high-tech energy drilling, cause less shaking and in general are about 16 times weaker than natural earthquakes with the same magnitude, a federal study found.

People feeling the ground move from induced quakes — those that are not natural, but triggered by injections of wastewater deep underground— report significantly less shaking than those who experience normal earthquakes of the same magnitude, according to a study by Geological Survey geophysicist Susan Hough.

Distance matters in this shaking gap, however. For people within 6 miles of the fault, artificial and natural quakes feel pretty much the same, she said.

Hough studied similar-sized man-made and natural quakes in the central and eastern United States from 2011 to 2013, comparing the reported magnitude to what people said they felt in the USGS electronic “Did You Feel It” survey. She found that while two types of temblors may have had the same magnitude as measured by seismographs, they had distinct differences in what people said they felt.

The way artificial quakes felt was equivalent on average to a natural quake that had a magnitude 0.8 smaller. So a 4.8 induced quake felt like a 4.0 quake, Hough said. The magnitude scale used by USGS and others is mathematically complex, but a drop in 0.8 magnitude translates to about 16 times less strength or energy released.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Pittsburgh’s Downtown tops ranking of small to midsized cities
  2. Interstate smash-and-grab jewelry ring may be operating in Pittsburgh area, Altoona
  3. Icy streets leave some in Pittsburgh neighborhoods critical of city
  4. Police say teen driver was drinking in Butler ATV crash that killed passenger
  5. Inmate care in Allegheny County Jail generates worries
  6. Free speech wall rises at Carlow University
  7. Federal judge allows challenge to Sharpsburg’s landlord law
  8. Just for Giggles, FBI tags along, finds more than sports paraphernalia at Pittsburgh store
  9. Long-term closures at Carnegie interchange on Parkway West to begin
  10. New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
  11. Passion for speed fuels Ligonier man’s slippery dash in winter rally