With many small tremors, recently hitting Delhi and nearby areas, people are scared for their lives. All this is happening amidst the coronavirus outbreak leaving people unable to decide whether to stay inside or rush outside. But is it natural or can humans trigger earthquakes? Let’s find out.

Can Human Trigger Earthquakes

Earthquakes Are Caused By The Movement of The Seismic Plates

Mining activities and the creation of large reservoirs are the most common causes of man-made earthquakes. This fact emerges from database reports of such quakes. In recent years, however, fracking projects, where rocks in the subsurface are broken down by injecting a liquid with high pressure, have increasingly caused seismic activities.

In most cases, human activity causes relatively little vibration. In some cases, however, violent quakes can result. The creation of a reservoir in China in 2008 caused an earthquake measuring 7.9. In such cases, however, there is usually already a considerable tension built up underground, and human activity is only the last nail in the coffin causing an earthquake.

Around 730 projects around the world have caused seismic activity according to the database. Most of them can be traced back to mining and conventional oil and gas production. The researchers assume that the number of actual earthquakes is significantly higher, but most are hardly noticed or are not reported due to the lack of any noticeable effects.

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Forces That Act on The Earth’s Crust

Forces That Act on Earth Quake
©Britannica Encyclopedia

In addition to the triggers already mentioned, geothermal drilling for geothermal energy, the construction of high-rise buildings, and the explosion of nuclear weapons are among the possible causes of non-natural earthquakes. Nuclear weapons tests in North Korea, are mostly noticed abroad by the seismic shocks they cause.

All human projects affect forces that act on the earth’s crust, such as adding or removing masses. We shouldn’t be surprised that the earth reacts to these changes. Sometimes the reaction is an earthquake. The recording of the non-natural quakes is essential to better understand causes and relationships and to be able to better assess potential dangers in the future, the researchers write.

Construction is something that is usually considered a huge cause of earthquakes. The population of Delhi is more than 3 Crore and the area is less than 1500 sq km. The population density is somewhere around 20,000 people per sq km. Simply put, twenty thousand people live in every square km in Delhi. You can imagine the stress caused by construction, drilling, cars running on roads. The situation aggravates if there is less water underground. You can easily understand the impact of an earthquake in Delhi.

Connection Often Controversial

What Causes Earthquakes

The researchers cannot assess how plausible is a connection between a construction project and an earthquake. There are often considerable differences of opinion between supporters and opponents of certain projects or among experts. It is up to the user to assess the likelihood of a man-made cause.

One thing is certain that the stress on the earth’s crust directly impacts the other tectonic plates and causes them to shift into a better position. This causes earthquakes.

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Useful For Hazard Assessment

A compilation of possible man-made earthquakes is still useful for hazard assessment. The main question is, what can a maximum earthquake be on the Richter scale? So when planning future construction projects, the govt needs to analyze the data and the overall stress on land to ensure the safety of people.

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