Huge quakes may foretell smaller, human-caused ones

Distant powerful temblors triggered ominous activity at wastewater injection sites

By Erin Wayman, 11:09 AM July 12, 2013

Giant, distant earthquakes may help scientists identify places where humans are liable to set off smaller tremors when they inject fluid deep into geologic deposits.

Scientists have known for decades that injecting huge volumes of liquid underground — such as waste from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — can set off quakes. But in most cases it doesn’t, and scientists can’t predict when or where such human-induced earthquakes will happen.

In the July 12 Science, seismologists report that massi...

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