Could Novel Technique To Curb Global Warming Also Trigger Earthquakes?

"A report finds that injecting carbon dioxide into underground rock formations, while a potential means of fighting global warming, could increase stresses on faults, leading to earthquakes."

"Capturing carbon dioxide from smokestack emissions and pumping it deep underground may not be as useful a tool for dealing with rising greenhouse-gas levels as advocates suggest, according to a new analysis.

he reason: Rising pressure from the enormous amounts of CO2, which would have to be stored for centuries to a few thousand years, could trigger earthquakes. The temblors might do little more than rattle Grandma's china at the surface, but they still could be strong enough to crack rock above the formations used for storage, providing pathways for the buoyant CO2 to leak back into the atmosphere.

Moreover, while some underground formations are well-suited for sequestration, they could represent far less storage capacity globally than required if the approach is to be a significant tool for holding down atmospheric concentrations, according to Mark Zoback, a geophysicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and the lead author of the analysis, which appears in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Pete Spotts reports for the Christian Science Monitor June 20, 2012.


Source: Christian Science Monitor, 06/21/2012