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Stress changes before and after the Wenchuan Earthquake using hydraulic fracturing measurements

This study draws conclusions from data gathered over a period of 10 years in the earthquake prone area of the Longmenshan fault belt, Sichuan, China. They used the method of in situ stress measurement by applying hydraulic fracturing and conducted measurement campaigns before and after the devastating quake in the Wenchuan Valley in 2008 in which ten thousands lost their lives.

Key findings:

  • Stresses changed significantly after the Wenchuan Earthquake by stress analysis.
  • There existed a predominant drop in stress after the earthquake.
  • The Longmenshan fault belt was divided into southern, middle, northern segments.
  • The fault’s frictional strength differs from each other among the three segments.

Chenghu Wang, Chengke Song, Qiliang Guo, Jizhen Mao, Yanshan Zhang
New insights into stress changes before and after the Wenchuan Earthquake using hydraulic fracturing measurements
Engineering Geology Volume 194, 26 August 2015, Pages 98–113
Special Issue on “The Geological and Geotechnical Hazards of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, China: Part II”
Received 3 August 2013, Revised 5 May 2015, Accepted 14 May 2015, Available online 16 May 2015
Full text @ Science direct

What is in situ stress measurement by the means of hydraulic fracturing? Explanation at hydrofrac.com.

See also:
Benjamin Haas, China Fracking Quake-Prone Province Shows Zeal for Gas, Bloomberg, Aug 1, 2013

China fracking proceeds despite earthquake risk – Drilling for gas in Sichuan could yield rewards, but it is China’s most seismically active province, Bloomberg, Aug 2, 2013

Jaeah Lee and James West, The Great Frack Forward – Deep Inside the Wild World of China’s Fracking Boom, MotherJones 2013


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