Seismicity is the term for the size and number of earth tremors or quakes that occur in a region. Induced seismicity is where the seismic activity is triggered by human activities such as mining, the filling of reservoirs or indeed hydraulic fracturing.
A 2013 study led by ReFINE showed that hydraulic fracturing for shale gas is known to cause induced seismicity. In the case of fracking, seismicity is caused when fluids used in the fracturing process "lubricate" existing faults, allowing movement to occur. However, the precise mechanisms by which this happens are not fully understood, nor is the frequency and maximum magnitude of induced seismicity that could occur.
Research paper by Miles Wilson, Richard J. Davies, Gillian Foulger, Bruce Julian, Peter Styles, Jon Gluyas and Sam Almond.
Published in Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2015.
Review paper by Richard J. Davies, Gillian Foulger, Annette Bindley, and Peter Styles.
Published in Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2013.
Summary of the research paper ‘Anthropogenic earthquakes in the UK: A national baseline prior to shale exploitation’ by Wilson et al., 2015.
Summary of the research paper ‘Induced Seismicity and Hydraulic Fracturing for the Recovery of Hydrocarbons’ by Davies et al., 2013.
Induced Seismicity: Review - Completed
A review of published literature on induced seismicity, cataloguing all incidences and causes of man-made earthqakes since 1927.
Published March 2014
Induced Seismicity in the UK - Completed
Earthquake records are examined to determine the causes of UK earthquakes since the 1970s in order to establish a baseline rate of man-made earthquakes.
Published September 2015
How Far From a Fault is it Safe to Frack?
Modelling of hydraulic fractures will be used to determine how far from a fault it would be safe to frack without risk of triggering induced seismicity.
Publication Expected Late 2016
The Guardian: UK experiences three earthquakes a year due to human activity
The 2016 ReFINE paper "Anthropogenic earthquakes in the UK: A national baseline prior to shale exploitation" is discussed with Prof. Richard Davies. The paper examines historic UK earthquakes and attempts to determine their cause.
ReFINE Scientist Discusses Dallas Earthquakes
ReFINE scientist Richard Davies discusses whether a previously fracked gas well could be the source of earth tremors in Dallas, Texas.