Abstract

Occasionally, the injection of fluids into deep wells causes or triggers earthquake activity. We propose two lists of yes-or-no questions to assess 1) whether an ongoing injection project has induced an earthquake that has already occurred; or 2) whether a proposed injection project is likely to induce a nearby earthquake. The answers to these questions form a descriptive profile of the injection project that facilitates comparison with other projects. To illustrate the application of these questions, we describe the answers in detail for the first set of questions at two sites: 1) the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado, where three significant earthquakes occurred in 1967; and 2) an injection site near Painesville, Ohio, near the epicenter of an earthquake that occurred 31 January, 1986. We also present a table of answers to these questions for several additional sites, and review other factors that may affect the potential for induced, seismic activity. The profiles of injection sites presented herein provide a convenient tool for deciding whether an injection site more closely resembles other sites where injection does, or does not induce earthquakes.

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