University of Oklahoma Geoscientist Hopes to Make Induced Earthquakes Predictable

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University of Oklahoma Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy assistant professor Xiaowei Chen and a group of geoscientists from Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley, have created a model to forecast induced earthquake activity from the disposal of wastewater after oil and gas production.

University of Oklahoma Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy assistant professor Xiaowei Chen and a group of geoscientists from Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley, have created a model to forecast induced earthquake activity from the disposal of wastewater after oil and gas production.

β€œIn this region of the country, for every barrel of oil produced from the ground, usually between eight and nine barrels of water are also extracted from many wells,” said Chen.

The large amount of water leads to a problem for oil producers – what to do with it?

Also called brine, this wastewater contains salt, minerals and trace amounts of oil, making it unusable for consumption or agricultural purposes and cost-prohibitive to treat. It is disposed of by injecting it back into the earth, deep into porous rock formations.

Read more at University of Oklahoma

Image: Xiaowei Chen (Credit: University of Oklahoma)