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Human‑induced earthquakes: E‑PIE—a generic tool for Evaluating Proposals of Induced Earthquakes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Max WilkinsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The HiQuake database documents all cases of earthquake sequences proposed on scien- tific grounds to have been induced by anthropogenic industrial activity. Because these cases range from being highly plausible to unpersuasive, stakehold- ers have requested cases to be allocated plausibil- ity grades. Since no questionnaire scheme existed that was sufficiently generalized to be applied to the diverse cases in HiQuake, we developed a new scheme for the task. Our scheme for Evaluating Pro- posals of Induced Earthquakes (E-PIE) comprises nine generalized questions with a simple weighting system to adjust for the variable diagnostic strength of different observations. Results are illustrated using a simple colored pie chart. We describe the E-PIE scheme and illustrate its application in detail using the example cases of the Groningen gas field in the Neth- erlands, the November 2017 M5.4 Pohang Enhanced Geothermal Systems-related earthquake sequence in South Korea, and the 2001 deep-penetrating bombing of Tora Bora, Afghanistan. To test the performance of E-PIE, five analysts independently applied it to a suite of 23 diverse cases from HiQuake. By far the most diagnostic questions are those concerning spa- tial and temporal correlations with industrial effects. Other data are diagnostically subsidiary. For individ- ual cases, the agreement between analysts correlated positively with the strength of evidence for human induction. E-PIE results agree well with those from a specialist scheme tailored to fluid-injection cases. Its strong performance confirms its suitability to apply to the entire HiQuake database.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Foulger GR, Wilkinson MW, Wilson MP, Mhana N, Tezel T, Gluyas JG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Seismology

Year: 2023

Volume: 27

Pages: 21-44

Online publication date: 10/01/2023

Acceptance date: 11/11/2022

Date deposited: 26/01/2023

ISSN (print): 1383-4649

ISSN (electronic): 1573-157X

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/s10950-022-10122-8


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Funder referenceFunder name
Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV (NAM)