Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Satellites Are Helping Decode Human-Caused Earthquakes

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Satellites Are Helping Decode Human-Caused Earthquakes

Article excerpt

An international team of researchers recently determined that the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Timpson, Texas in 2012, the largest earthquake ever measured in the state, was caused by fracking and the subsequent wastewater injection process.

Using satellite data from the Japanese Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS), the research team observed changes in the height of the ground above several fracking wastewater wells. The study, which was published Thursday in Science, may also hold the key to predicting future man-made earthquakes, by monitoring how the earth responds to pressure.

"Our research is the first to provide an answer to the questions of why some wastewater injection causes earthquakes, where it starts, and why it stops," study co-author William Ellsworth, a geophysics professor at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, said in a press release. …

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