Monitoring Hazard to Critical Infrastructure from Increased Seismic Activity in or near Injection Wells


PI:  Thomas Oommen

The recent earthquakes in or near active injection wells in Youngstown, Ohio (Mw 3.9, 2011), Raton Basin, Colorado (Mw 5.3, 2011), and Prague, Oklahoma (Mw 5.6, 2011) have alerted the scientific community to the possibility that these earthquakes are caused by human activity. Although studies have not unequivocally established the human influence on this, it is evident that there is an increase in seismic activity near some injection wells and perhaps in some hydraulic fracturing operations.

This increase in seismic activity raises a significant question: How does this seismic activity affect the critical infrastructure ( dams, highways, railways, pipelines, and others) in its vicinity? The objective of this proposal is to do a prelimina,y study on the applicability of satellite based high resolution optical imaging and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to evaluate the effects of induced seismic events on the integrity of critical infrastructure in the vicinity of injection wells.

Thomas Oommen
Thomas Oommen