Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Human‐Induced Earthquakes: The Performance of Questionnaire Schemes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Max WilkinsonORCiD, Miles Wilson


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Questionnaire schemes are commonly used to investigate whether or not certain earthquakes were induced by industrial activity. Such schemes are subjective and cannot be assumed to give the “right” answer in a scientifically rigorous sense. They only yield current expert opinion on how strongly existing data support an induced or natural cause. Work to optimize a standard generic questionnaire is ongoing. To this end, we designed and compared three schemes that produce measures of data quality and support for human induction. One scheme is a generalization of an existing questionnaire for assessing fluid‐injection‐associated earthquakes. A second scheme is purely subjective, and a third scheme is purely objective. Because questionnaires are opinion‐dependent, different analysts produce different results. We tested the three schemes on 55 diverse cases from the Human‐Induced Earthquake Database with the maximum magnitude earthquakes M 4.1–7.9. The results of three analysts correlate with each other at the r ∼ 0.4–0.9 level. Higher correlations were found between schemes than between analysts. A simple, rapid, five‐question Likert scale correlated well (r = 0.79) with results from a sophisticated, time‐consuming scheme. Measures of data quality were uncorrelated with MmaxMmax⁠, and support for human induction correlated weakly negatively with MmaxMmax⁠. One scheme identified an earthquake sequence not proposed to have been human‐induced but that has induced characteristics. New mechanisms of induction are still being recognized, and it is important that questionnaire schemes do not preclude new developments in future.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Foulger GR, Wilkinson MW, Wilson MP, Gluyas JG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

Year: 2022

Volume: 112

Issue: 6

Pages: 2773-2794

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 20/10/2022

Acceptance date: 20/10/2022

ISSN (print): 0037-1106

ISSN (electronic): 1943-3573

Publisher: Seismological Society of America


DOI: 10.1785/0120220079


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric