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How fluid viscosity affects earthquake intensity

© 2019 EPFL

© 2019 EPFL

Chiara Cornelio, a PhD student at EPFL's Laboratory of Experimental Rock Mechanics (LEMR), shows how the viscosity of fluids directly affects an earthquake's intensity.

Chiara Cornelio conducted an experimental study stimulating earthquake propagation, in collaboration with researchers at INGV (Rome), University of Padova and Durham. Her reasearch clearly demontrats relation between fluid viscosity contained in the fault system and earthquake intensity. This study has a great impact for subsurface exploration projects. Indeed, projects such as geothermal power, injection wells and mining all involve injecting pressurized fluids into fractured rock.

The study have been recently published in Nature Communications 

Journal reference: C. Cornelio, E. Spagnuolo, G. Di Toro, S. Nielsen, M. Violay. Mechanical behaviour of fluid-lubricated faults.Nature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09293-9