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.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Corbett, Wolf resort to sticks, stones to attract attention
  2. Komen acceptance of drilling-linked money raises ire
  3. Public servants honored in Pittsburgh for extraordinary responses
  4. Curry Hollow Shopping Center has buyer
  5. 15206Project finds goals for rain
  6. Ferrante trial: Cyanide order form in plain sight
  7. Review: Tortelier’s golden touch full of personality, grandeur
  8. Wilkinsburg couple arrested after baby girl dies following beating
  9. State’s ‘public-private’ transportation deal will replace 53 bridges in Allegheny County
  10. Howard Hanna family donates $1M for business student scholarships at University of Pittsburgh
  11. Film Office announces two Downtown road closures Monday
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.