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ArticleName Induced earthquakes as a part of tectonic process in critical stress state zones in the Earth’s crust
DOI 10.17580/gzh.2020.01.04
ArticleAuthor Batugin A. S.

NUST MISIS, Moscow, Russia:

A. S. Batugin, Professor, Doctor of Engineering Sciences,


Based on the concept of the critical stress state of the earth’s crust, the possible nature of M6.1 Bachat Earthquake in Kuzbass is considered. The earthquake that occurred in 2013 right under an open pit mine bottom and had the hypocenter depth of several kilometers is considered one of the strongest induced earthquakes in mining areas. It is shown that this geodynamic event can be described by the same tectonophysical model that was used earlier for the mechanism of a strong tectonic rock burst: under the influence of regional stress field, large blocks of the earth’s crust move along reactivated major faults, which can be considered as the manifestation of a tectonic process. To explain the impact of mining operations on such strong seismic event with the hypocenter at great depths, it is suggested that on the eve of the earthquake on the Bachat site, the zone of critical stress state existed as a result of the interaction between large (100–200 km) blocks in the Earth’s crust. The size of this zone is estimated as 10 km based on the magnitude of the event and ideas about its focal zone as a zone of destruction and critical stress state. It is concluded that with the geodynamic phenomenon focus 10 km n size, the critical stress state zone in rock mass was located at a depth of several kilometers below the ground surface. In this case, the anthropogenic impact (mining) was exerted directly from the surface to this zone, which could serve as a trigger for an earthquake with a hypocenter depth of 4 km. It is assumed that other strong earthquakes with a focal depth of several kilometers, the induced nature of which is discussed in the literature, had the same origin. The analysis of the relationships between the hypocenter depths and the calculated sizes of foci of some earthquakes, which are assumed as induced events, shows that as with the Bachat earthquake, during these seismic events due to the anthropogenic impact, the zones of critical stress state are detected in the the earth’s crust. These zones occupy a certain volume from the earth’s surface down to depths sometimes exceeding 10–15 km. This can explain the great energy and significant depth of the hypocenters of strong earthquakes, which are assumed to be induced.

keywords Induced earthquake, rock burst, Earth’s crust blocks, critical stress state, focus zone, fault reactivation

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