Abstract

A common misconception regarding injection‐induced seismicity both in popular media and during discussion at scientific meetings is that the injected fluid lubricates existing faults. However, this is usually not the case, and there needs to be a clear distinction between injected fluid flow, pore pressure diffusion, and in situ fluid flow driven by the induced pressure gradient. This note is to clarify this misconception through addressing three questions. (1) What happens to wastewater after it is injected into a disposal well? (2) How do the injected fluids disturb the pressure in rocks? (3) What triggers an earthquake? In addressing these questions, we invoke no new physics; rather we untangle the basic physical processes that are commonly misunderstood.

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