Can Humans Create Earthquakes?

Can Humans Create Earthquakes?
An Overview of How Hydraulic Fracturing Can Induce Seismicity

Dr. Goncalves da Silva and Dr. Mike Fehler

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
2:30 - 4:00 P.M.

Campus Center Atrium

Hydraulic fracturing is a method routinely used in oil and gas extraction and in engineered geothermal systems— helping to increase the permeability of source rock and making it possible for oil, gas or heat to be more easily recovered in a financially viable way. However, many aspects of hydraulic fracturing are not well understood, such as the induced seismicity produced during these operations. While this induced seismicity is useful to monitor the hydraulic fracturing processes, it may also cause fear to nearby communities.

In their upcoming Technology and Society Forum presentation, Goncalves da Silva, assistant professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at NJIT, joins Michael Fehler, senior research scientist and the deputy director of the Earth Resource Laboratory at MIT, to discuss current technologies, misconceptions, and challenges associated with hydraulic fracturing.

Dr. Gonçalves da Silva will introduce methodology used in hydraulic fracturing and address recent studies conducted at NJIT and MIT on induced seismicity and hydraulic fracturing at the laboratory scale. Dr. da Silva earned his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT and is currently studying the induced seismicity and fracturing processes that occur due to hydraulic fracturing of rocks.

Dr. Mike Fehler will discuss the mechanisms of hydraulic fracturing and how earthquakes are caused by it, as well as field scale projects he has been involved with ranging from enhanced geothermal systems to oil and gas extraction. Dr. Fehler will particularly focus on hydraulic fracturing-induced seismicity and mechanisms responsible for it. Fehler received his Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT in 1979. He currently focuses on seismic and electromagnetic imaging and microearthquake monitoring and interpretation around the production of hydrocarbons, in geothermal energy production and reservoir characterization.

This is a public forum that qualifies attendees for Professional Development Hours.
NJIT welcomes attendees from the region's professional practices and universities.
Sponsors: Albert Dorman Honors College; John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, and Sigma Xi NJIT Chapter
For more information: Visit or contact Professor Michel Boufadel,