Electric Earthquakes

Historic planetary instability and catastrophe. Evidence for electrical scarring on planets and moons. Electrical events in today's solar system. Electric Earth.

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Chromium6
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Chromium6 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:58 pm

Interesting that the amount of waste water pumping/dumping into disposal wells, along with the flow of the water to new areas underground, is a key factor for induced Earthquakes. Don't know if this is due to "charging" these areas or is simply pressure related in a physical sense.

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Swarms of Earthquakes Shake Up Shale Gas Fields

Do tremors plaguing industry in Texas, Holland, and beyond offer a glimpse of BC's future?

By Andrew Nikiforuk, 31 Jan 2014, TheTyee.ca

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/01/31/Shale ... rthquakes/
Pumping these wastes permanently underground remains a big and uncertain business. Texas operates more 50,000 injection wells, five of which are located near Azle, the state's new earthquake centre.

Alberta has nearly 2,000 injection well sites and Oklahoma, which experienced a record 2,600 quakes last year, is home to 5,000 injection sites. As of 2007, B.C. employed more than 100 wastewater wells in its gas fields.

Many of continent's more than 680,000 injection and disposal wells have sprung leaks or have fractured into aquifers.

Since the advent of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas plays in northern B.C., the volume of water disposed by the industry through deep injection wells has grown from approximately 1.2 billion litres in 1990 to 4.2 billion litres in 2009 -- an average increase of seven per cent per year.

Hyper hydrocarbons

Geologists have known for years that various forms of hydrocarbon production, from drilling and pumping to injecting and fracturing, can cause man-made earthquakes. Experts call the phenomenon "induced seismicity."

One 2013 study found that large earthquakes in Japan and Chile were now unsettling injection waste disposal sites in Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, creating smaller earthquakes.

"The remote triggering by big earthquakes is an indication the area is critically stressed," said author Nicholas van der Elst, a researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The natural gas industry sparked a swarm of major earthquakes in the 1970s and '80s in central Alberta. The rapid draining of a sour gas field near Rocky Mountain House triggered as many as 146 quakes in one year.

Oil sands waste disposal in Cold Lake, Alberta triggered earthquakes in the '60s and '80s.

The natural gas industry also shook up Gazli, Uzbekistan with earthquakes as high as 7.3 on the Richter scale in the '70s.

Russian scientists concluded that a series of major quakes were "the strongest of all the known earthquakes in the plain of Central Asia" and that "the amassed data indicate that the Gazli earthquakes were triggered by the exploitation of the gas field."

But the with the advent of multi-stage horizontal hydraulic fracturing, which injects large volumes of water and chemicals at extremely high pressures much deeper underground than ever before and produces enormous amounts of waste fluids, the industry has set off earthquakes with startling regularity.
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

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CharlesChandler
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by CharlesChandler » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:39 am

Chromium6 wrote:Interesting that the amount of waste water pumping/dumping into disposal wells, along with the flow of the water to new areas underground, is a key factor for induced Earthquakes. Don't know if this is due to "charging" these areas or is simply pressure related in a physical sense.
If earthquakes are caused by electric currents, it might not be charging, or hydrostatic pressure. Rather, it might just be conductivity. Solid granite has a resistance of 2.4 MΩ, so we don't expect any currents at all there. Fractured granite has a resistance of roughly 377 ohms, so currents definitely become possible. But granite with water in the fractures has even less resistance, so oh yes, if there is an electric field, there will be currents. Extreme current densities can then transform those currents into plasma discharge channels, which doesn't hurt the conductivity at all, but greatly increases the pressure exerted on the surrounding rock.
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Maol » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:34 pm

The crystal structures in the rocks can behave piezoelectrically therefore current fluctuations in the rock can cause that behavior, like the piezoelectric transducers in an ultrasonic cleaning tank or tweeters in a stereo system, but on a planet sized scale.

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by CharlesChandler » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:30 pm

Piezoelectricity is the standard explanation for terrestrial electrification under pressure, but on closer scrutiny, this isn't correct. Certain crystals (especially quartz) get polarized under pressure, and the corollary is that if exposed to an electric field, such crystals can be made to do mechanical work (such as piezo tweeters). But the effect doesn't extend much past the crystal itself, so there is no cumulative effect from multiple crystals that would drive any electric currents, or get registered by an electric field meter at the surface. Even if you stacked quartz crystals end-to-end, you wouldn't get a cumulative effect, because all of the electric field would be between the positive end of one crystal and the negative end of the next one. Past the end of the last crystal, you're not going to register any net field. Electron degeneracy pressure, on the other hand, can very definitely produce a net field under pressure, and drive electric currents if the pressure changes. So this is the more likely cause of terrestrial electrification.
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Maol » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:11 pm

Charles, perhaps you misunderstood this hypothesis. Surely you know the piezoelectric effect is a two-way street and granite is more than 20% quartz. The rock acts as a transducer and mechanical deformation occurs in a mountain of granite when an external electric field is applied from whatever source, terrestrial or Solar. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust.

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by CharlesChandler » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:22 am

Maol wrote:Charles, perhaps you misunderstood this hypothesis.
On re-reading, I think I did misunderstand your statement. You weren't saying that pressure causes electricity -- you were saying that electricity causes pressure. :oops: This is true, and if there was a sufficient electric field in the Earth, it could deform the quartz crystals, and this could produce the lateral pressure necessary to rupture a fault. At least now I understand what you were saying. ;)

This begs the question of what causes the electric field. Interestingly, my hypothesis might answer your question.

I'm saying that lateral tectonic pressure buckles the crust. The buckle relieves pressure on the mantle below it, enabling charge recombination. (At extreme pressure, charges are separated by electron degeneracy pressure. If the pressure is relaxed, the electrons can flow back in. The threshold for electron degeneracy pressure is the Moho, where the top of the mantle is positively charged, and the lower crust is negatively charged, and the Moho is the border between these two charged layers.) Thus there will be an electric current flowing downward. My hypothesis was that this electric current causes ohmic heating, which causes the crust to expand, which increases the buckle, which further relaxes the pressure underneath, which enables even more charge recombination. Thus it is a positive feedback loop, wherein the prime mover (i.e., a buckled crust) is enhanced, until it becomes a runaway release of energy that ultimately causes the rupture.

But if we go back a couple of steps, we can see where your hypothesis could work also, within the same framework. Lateral tectonic pressure buckles the crust, and this relieves pressure on the mantle, enabling charge recombination. We know that the surface becomes positively charged when the crust buckles, and this makes sense if electrons are flowing downward, to recombine with positive ions that are no longer being forcibly ionized. It also means that all of a sudden, there will be a powerful electric field between the lower crust and the upper mantle. Then your hypothesis kicks in, where quartz crystals deform in a large electric field. This doesn't register as a large field at the surface, because all of the action is between 10 and 30 kilometers below the surface, in the Moho.

This is interesting because I hadn't fully convinced myself that ohmic heating could kick in fast enough to be a player in this runaway feedback loop. Increased heat in buckled crusts have definitely been measured, and this is one of the warning signs of an impending earthquake. But is it enough to make a big enough difference on the lateral pressure to create a runaway reaction? Maybe it doesn't have to, or at least it isn't the only contributor to the feedback loop. Maybe quartz deformation is also a contributor to the lateral pressure, and thus to the feedback loop.

Very interesting indeed. Thanks for insisting that I take a second look. ;)

Please let me know if any of this doesn't make sense.
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Maol » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:57 am

It all makes sense. Every facet makes sense (pun intended). The conundrum is in determining the ratio of each influence on the outcome.

There was discussion of this piezoelectric effect in March 2011 at the time of the big quake in Japan. Look back in this thread (which is a hodgepodge combination of threads) to about pages 14 and 15. The March 11, 2011 quake in Japan was concurrent with a very large perturbation in the solar wind.

http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpB ... 131#p49131

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by CharlesChandler » Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:38 pm

Maol wrote:The conundrum is in determining the ratio of each influence [i.e., piezoelectricity versus ohmic heating] on the outcome.
At present, I'm not concerned with the fine-grain detail -- I'm just moving the big building blocks into place. I have found that it's easier to build a model by eliminating the impossibilities first. Then I look at what I can build with what is left. I only crunch numbers when I'm satisfied that there is nothing more that can be done. To put it another way, sanity checks are more important than math, because without knowing that we're solving the right problem, exact solutions are meaningless. :) Using such a method, I have become convinced that the only possible combination of fundamental forces that can explain the gross behaviors of the Sun and the Earth, and the relationships between them, is to think of them as collections of current-free double-layers (CFDLs). Within that framework, everything is falling into place. If you haven't already, please have a look at my Earthquakes page. I integrated your point on piezoelectricity into the text. (Send me a PM with your real name if you want to be listed in the credits.) I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that a model could perform this well, considering such a broad range of phenomena, and still be fundamentally wrong. So I'm going to just keep moving big solid blocks into place as fast as I can find them. ;)
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by ElecGeekMom » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:21 am

I put this on the mad ideas board, but now I think it belongs here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26462348

They're talking about earthquake lights, then about an experiment where they shake a container of flour and find that generates 200+ volts.

Shaking flour reminds me of liquifaction.

So there's the connection. Can we kick this around a bit?

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Maol » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:54 pm

ElecGeekMom wrote:I put this on the mad ideas board, but now I think it belongs here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26462348

They're talking about earthquake lights, then about an experiment where they shake a container of flour and find that generates 200+ volts.

Shaking flour reminds me of liquifaction.

So there's the connection. Can we kick this around a bit?
And then, this link to an associated thread "New insights into creating ball lightning in the lab" at the US Air Force Academy is on that "earthquake lights" page.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-23712393

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by allynh » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:05 am

ElecGeekMom wrote:I put this on the mad ideas board, but now I think it belongs here:
I was going to suggest the same. HA!

Clue to earthquake lightning mystery
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26462348
5 March 2014 Last updated at 22:33 ET By James Morgan Science reporter, BBC News, Denver
_73401521_fukushima.jpg
Strange glowing orbs were seen in the sky during the Fukushima earthquake
Mysterious lightning flashes that appear to precede earthquakes could be sparked by movements in the ground below, US scientists say.

Unidentified glowing objects were spotted moments before major quakes in China and Italy recently.

These flickers could be triggered by shifting soil layers which generate huge electrical charge, say scientists.

Using a tub of plain kitchen flour, they discovered an entirely new physical phenomenon.

They announced their findings at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver.

"Our first suspicion was this has got to be a mistake. There must be something stupid we are doing," said Professor Troy Shinbrot, of Rutgers University, New Jersey.

"We took a tupperware container filled with flour, tipped it back and forth until cracks appeared, and it produced 200 volts of charge.

"There isn't a mechanism I know that can explain this. It seems to be new physics. "

Repeat experiments with other granular materials produced the same voltage phenomenon.

If it occurs along geological faultlines, sliding and cracking of soil grains could be generating millions of volts of electrostatic charge.

This in turn could seed lightning in the air above - creating a natural "early-warning system" for impending earthquakes.
power.jpg
Electrical spikes of 100 volts or more can result when a crack opens and closes in bed of powder
Voltage fields

Stories of "earthquake lights" have been recorded for 300 years, but were typically dismissed by scientists as hearsay, or fodder for UFO enthusiasts.

However in recent decades - and with the advent of YouTube - sightings of "clear-sky lightning" have been captured, analysed, and confirmed by scientists.

Videos of luminous orbs seen during the Fukushima and L'Aquila earthquakes were widely shared online.

"We want to know - why does this lightning appear sometimes but not others?" said Prof Shinbrot.

"Not every major earthquake is preceded by lightning. And not all clear-sky lightning is followed by earthquakes."

To understand the link, scientists in Turkey have erected towers that measure voltage fields in the air over earthquake-prone regions.

"They've found there do seem to be precursors for some large earthquakes - magnitude 5 or higher. But the voltage signal is not always the same. Sometimes it's high and sometimes it's low.

"Clearly there is a lot yet to be understood."

His first aim is to understand the flour experiment - what is this new, unknown mechanism which generates voltage in the powder cracks?

"This is not what you typically think of as static - it's not like rubber shoes against a nylon carpet. This is two layers of exactly the same material rubbing against each other - and generating voltage.

"How is this happening? Your guess is as good as mine.

"I think the reason that no-one has reported this before is that no-one has thought to look."

Chromium6
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Chromium6 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:13 pm

Really interesting about the Flour generation of charge.

Posted this before but is worth another look at this point. Makes me wonder how closely the piezo-electric effects of both sound and charge relate to earthquakes from squeezing Limestone/feldspar/etc. Force Chains and Drilling are probably related:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 124649.htm

Sound Waves Can Trigger Earthquake Aftershocks

Date:
January 3, 2008
Source:
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
Using a novel device that simulates earthquakes in a laboratory setting, scientists have shown that seismic waves -- the sounds radiated from earthquakes -- can induce earthquake aftershocks, often long after a quake has subsided.

NONLINEAR TRIGGERING OF SLOW SLIP
http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/ees/ees11/geop ... 12Slow.pdf
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by CharlesChandler » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:34 pm

Perhaps most surprising, researchers have found that the release of energy can occur minutes, hours, or even days after the sound waves pass; the cause of the delay remains a tantalizing mystery.
Indeed, that will turn out to be quite some mystery, for quite some time, until they realize that it's non-Newtonian. The article is just one more example of researchers up against the limits of their paradigm, and how they start talking gibberish when nothing makes sense to them. So now they're studying "memory beads" that can store seismic energy, and mysteriously release that energy at some later date. Needless to say, they've already applied for a grant to conjure up a mathematical model. When they publish it, they'll announce that they figured it out -- math causes earthquakes!!! :D
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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by Chromium6 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:24 pm

CharlesChandler wrote:
Perhaps most surprising, researchers have found that the release of energy can occur minutes, hours, or even days after the sound waves pass; the cause of the delay remains a tantalizing mystery.
Indeed, that will turn out to be quite some mystery, for quite some time, until they realize that it's non-Newtonian. The article is just one more example of researchers up against the limits of their paradigm, and how they start talking gibberish when nothing makes sense to them. So now they're studying "memory beads" that can store seismic energy, and mysteriously release that energy at some later date. Needless to say, they've already applied for a grant to conjure up a mathematical model. When they publish it, they'll announce that they figured it out -- math causes earthquakes!!! :D
Great page Charles!
http://qdl.scs-inc.us/?top=9981

They did ask one interesting question:
----
"The memory part is the most puzzling," Johnson said, "because during an earthquake there is so much energy being released and the event is so violent that you have to wonder, why doesn't the system reset itself?"
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

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Re: Electric Earthquakes

Unread post by CharlesChandler » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:03 pm

"The memory part is the most puzzling," Johnson said, "because during an earthquake there is so much energy being released and the event is so violent that you have to wonder, why doesn't the system reset itself?"
Indeed, with the Earth shaking violently, all of the slippage that could occur, should occur, and no, there shouldn't be any "memory", where energy is somehow getting stored and then released later. :D

This release of "mysterious memory energy" is actually fairly predictable, and a number of laws have been derived to describe it.
  • Omori's law: aftershock frequency varies with the inverse of the time after the main shock.
  • Båth's law: the difference in magnitude between a main shock and its largest aftershock is approximately 1.1~1.2 MMS, regardless of the main shock magnitude. So if the main shock is M7.5, the largest aftershock will be M6.3~6.4.
  • Gutenberg-Richter law: there are fewer large aftershocks, and more small ones.
All of these behaviors easily make sense when we consider that there is an anomalous heat source at the fault, detectable in the infrared from satellites before the quake. There is no place for these data in the standard model, which has convection driving subduction. Thus the modeling has the subducted plate cooler than its surroundings, and sinking as a consequence. The reality is that the subducted plate is far warmer, and the quake itself generates even more heat. If we take this heat into account, aftershocks are easy to understand.

Imagine taking two plates of steel, and clamping them together with a partial overlap, such that there is a respectable amount of friction between them, establishing traction. Now apply some force to make the plates slip. Up to the limit of the traction, it holds, and then -- "chink" -- the plates slip. But then there aren't any "after-chinks", because the shearing force was relaxed in the slippage, and then the traction took hold again. So in that situation, if there are "after-chinks", one has to start thinking strange thoughts, like wondering if maybe the steel, or the mating surfaces, have some sort of memory.

Now take a blow torch to one of the plates, heating it up such that it expands. Eventually, the thermal expansion overpowers the traction, and -- "chink" -- the plates slip. Then you hear an "after-chink", and another, and another. You find that as the heated plate cools, the frequency of the after-chinking varies inversely with the time after the primary chink, because it cools rapidly at first, and then more slowly. You also find that the loudness of the first after-chink is proportional to the primary chink. And you hear lots of little after-chinks, and few big after-chinks.

All of these are expected behaviors if one plate is shrinking, causing differential slippage of one plate across another. And this is precisely the nature of earthquake after-shocks. But like I said, the standard model can't get there, because the subducted plate is supposed to be cooler, and only the quake itself is supposed to generate heat (due to friction), and this will heat both plates equally, producing no differential thermal contraction.

As far as I can tell, the only possible heat source before the quake is ohmic heating from an electric current through micro-fractures in the rock. It only affects the upper plate, which is buckling under the lateral stress. So it isn't that subducted plate is so cold that it's being convected downward -- it's that the upper plate is so hot that thermal expansion overpowers the traction, rupturing the fault. And then there are going to be lots of after-shocks.
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