The StatesFirst initiative—a partnership that includes Ohio and twelve other states—recently issued a primer addressing earthquakes potentially caused by human activity, also referred to as induced seismicity:

The primer primarily focuses on potential induced seismicity associated with Class II disposal wells. Injection wells are currently regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act through the Underground Injection Control Program (UIC). The UIC program through primacy delegation by the U.S. EPA, is administered by certain states due to their in-depth knowledge of local industry operations and geology.

In its assessment, the work group observed that the majority of disposal wells in the United States do not pose a hazard for induced seismicity; however most cases of felt injection-induced earthquake activity has generally been associated with direct injection into basement rocks or injection into overlying formations with permeable avenues of communication with the basement rocks, and in proximity to faults of concern.

In areas where induced seismicity is thought to have occurred, the Primer also identifies the range of multi-disciplinary approaches states have used to manage and mitigate risks, discusses scientific methods for evaluating cause, identifies faults of concern, and distinguishes risks and hazards.

Check out the full press release here. Also, see here for Associated Press coverage of the StatesFirst primer.