Top ways to cause an earthquake

Quite liked this one about the top ways to cause a man made earthquake:

1. Build a Dam: Water is heavier than air, so when the valley behind a dam is filled, the crust underneath the water experiences a massive change in stress load. For example, the Hoover Dam area experienced hundreds of quakes as Lake Mead filled.

2. Inject Liquid Into the Ground: In 1961, the Army decided that the best way to dispose of toxic waste from napalm production (among other things) was to drill a 12,000-foot-deep well in the Rocky Mountains and inject the bad stuff down it into the crust of the Earth. From 1962 to 1966, the Army deposited 165 million gallons of toxic waste into this hole in the Earth. Unfortunately, the injections probably triggered earthquakes in the region, and the Army shut the operation down.

3. Mine a Lot of Coal: Coal provides more than half the electricity in the United States and an even greater percentage in China. That means there are a lot of coal mines working overtime to pull the fossilized fuel out of the Earth. In total, miners pulled 6,195 million metric tons of coal out of the Earth in 2006 alone. And coal mines often have to pump water out along with the coal, sometimes extracting dozens of times as much water as coal.

4. Drill a Gusher Dry: Three of the largest human-caused quakes occurred near a natural-gas field in Uzbekistan, the Gazli. The combination of liquid extraction and injection changed the tectonic action in the field. The biggest of the trio registered as a 7.3. According to a major analysis (.pdf) by Russian scientists, “Few will deny that there is a relationship between hydrocarbon recovery and seismic activity, but exactly how strong a relationship exists has yet to be determined.”

5. Create the World’s Biggest Building: Back in 2005, a geologist claimed that the world’s then-tallest building, the Taipei 101, which weighs in at more than 700,000 metric tons, was triggering earthquakes in a long-dormant fault in Taiwan. Klose doubts that the building actually did so, but said that it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility for a building to create an earthquake.

Those were good but I do think the author left two out:

6. Create a bomb for the purpose: Secret wartime experiments were conducted off the New Zealand coast to perfect a bomb that could trigger devastating Tsunami waves, according to government files declassified in Auckland.

The New Zealand Herald, citing the files, said that senior United States defence officials believed the weapon had the potential to be as deadly as the atomic bomb. But the tsunami bomb, as it was known, was never fully tested and the war ended before the project was completed.

Its mastermind was Thomas Leech, an Australian professor who was the dean of engineering at Auckland University from 1940 to 1950. He was seconded to the New Zealand Army during the Second World War. He set off a series of underwater explosions that triggered mini tidal waves at Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland, in 1944 and 1945.

Details of the research, known as Project Seal, are contained in 53- year-old documents released by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

7. Join Aum Shinrikyo.

5 comments for “Top ways to cause an earthquake

  1. Rossa
    February 10, 2011 at 11:34

    If this comment from EU Referendum (from the thread on Richard’s post about Prince Charles) is to be believed then earthquakes help on the opening up of oil and gas deposits. I’ve read about this abiotic theory but not the connection with the movement of the tectonic plates

    “..The big question today is if we will ever run out of oil since the theory of the abiotic origin of oil emerged and a laboratory in Sweden provided us with the practical proof of this theory. In fact this theory states that as long we have earthquakes and tectonic plate movement, oil and natural gas will be generated.

    I am convinced that this theory is true. Fact is that old departed oil wells that were left untouched for 40 years started producing again when the old pumps were activated. Besides that, new techniques have been developed that allow us to make old wells productive again.

    The reality is that ‘Peak Oil’, just like Anthropogenic Global Warming is a crock.” … hale_oil_3

  2. February 10, 2011 at 13:25

    9. Women wearing skimpy clothing.

    10. I suspect atomic bombs may have caused a couple of earthquakes, but it’s difficult to prove one way or another.

  3. February 11, 2011 at 00:13

    There is another way…

  4. February 11, 2011 at 05:04


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