Friday, March 20, 2015

The Physics of Oklahoma Earthquake Suppression - Part 5

Final Section (not)

Stress Corrosion

So we run with our model of earthquakes, which are quartz points pressed together, pickled in water, and then sheared.  This could be an imaginary physical model in a testing machine, or an imaginary computer model.  They both cost me the same.  :)

I'd draw a picture of it, but that would be silly.  So we want to cause an earthquake, what do we do?  An earthquake is defined as the model going into dynamic friction, and if we have a floppy testing machine, that's a big boom.

If the fracture were double-sealed with rubber, we could increase the water pressure and get it to go boom.  This is the usgus model (but they don't use quartz).  Unfortunately that is too difficult, and does not reflect reality.  In order for pressure to work, there has to be a severe pressure gradient, which means that the fracture is pressurized, and nothing else is.  Our sample is immersed in a water tank, you can pressurize it all you want and nothing happens, there is no gradient.  Deep down in fractured rock, it is exactly the same.

This usgus physics runs from their idea that the fault exists as an entity.  Does not!  Pressure has nothing to do with it, and the pressure gradient is near zero in the deep rock where the earthquakes happen.  (again, against usgus physics).  They can do what they want, they ignore me, I ignore them.  :)

Stress corrosion is the mechanism that attacks the quartz points when they are under shear stress, and in water.  Basically, any shear stress causes tiny tension cracks, and water attacks the quartz bond.  We could pour in a powerful acid, and we'd get our machine to go boom.  But, amazingly enough distilled water is the universal solvent, and it quite corrosive at this scale.  It plucks a quartz molecule, and the whole thing goes boom.

Now, Texas is the holder of a big secret, and they won't tell anybody.  It's that they have big wells that have been injecting deep saltwater for years, and never caused an earthquake.  Then somebody starts mixing in surface water from gas fracking all hell breaks loose.  If only they would come clean on this, we'd all be better off.  I'm assuming that they are lying bastards, and this is what happened.  :)

So, that's the only way we cause earthquakes.  We inject water that can pluck quartz molecules.  The deep water is saturated in silica (quartz) and can't do anything.  So even if Kansas reduces the volume of injection, they'll just change the mix to more lucrative frack waste.  And with natural gas prices through the roof this winter, we know what will happen.

I had proposed a simple fix to stop all these earthquakes, but it ain't gonna happen.  What will happen is that both sides are going to be more and more belligerent until there is a really big earthquake that kills people.  Then all injection will be shut down, and never restart.  The Saudis will be ecstatic!

Thus endeth the tome.

-wait a second!  I forgot about the stupid title.  One more section on discrete element modelling.

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