5 ways in which humans have influenced earthquakes

5 ways in which humans have influenced earthquakes

TNT News

"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed". -Mahatma Gandhi

The Nepal earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on April 25th will put a question mark on who is at fault? 'Nature or Mankind'? The rise in human induced activity is on the verge of making nature crumble on its knees. Sustainable development is a long lost term as human actions can have a bigger impact along natural fault lines and could trigger larger quakes.

The five ways threat of an earthquake increases by Human acts are as follows:


Earthquakes can be induced by dams as 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. A perfect example is the case of Sichuan earthquake in China with 7.9 magnitude in Richter scale has been related to the construction of the Zipingpu Dam.


A drilling process that injects millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into a well, cracking the rock and to release natural gas and oil and by deep well injection, we are changing the stress levels on the underlying rocks and at some point the stress will be relieved by generating an earthquake.


Earthquakes can be triggered by changes in fluid pressure in the pores of rocks and added combination of liquid extraction and injection can change the tectonic action in the field. Worldwide seismic activities, aftershocks are on the rise and extracting oil and natural gas could trigger strong quakes.


What is the most common view in any urban agglomeration? Answer lies in extreme engineering with our infrastructural landscapes. The latest hammering on the 12 high rise buildings in Shillong and many more which should follow perhaps but the damage has to be attributed to human built structures as people get trapped by collapsed buildings or cut off from vital water or basic supplies.


Coal mines often have to pump water out along with the coal, sometimes extracting dozens of times as much water as coal. Add it up and you have a huge change in the mass of a region, and huge mass changes refigure the earthquake stresses of an area, sometimes increasing the chance of an earthquake and other times lowering it!

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