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MHD Induced Seismicity


Induced Seismicity Due to Electromagnetic Impact Caused by MHD Generator

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-SEM/Seismic Monitoring/Environment
  • NNE-MEC/Miscellaneous Energy Conversion/Non-Nuclear Energy

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Joint Institute for High Temperatures RAS / High Energy Density Research Center, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • NPO Soyuz (2), Russia, Moscow reg., Dzerzhinsky


  • Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, Fukuoka\nTokai University / Earthquake Prediction Research Center, Japan, Tokai\nTextron Systems, USA, MA, Wilmington\nUniversity of Tsukuba / Institute of Engineering Mechanics and Systems, Japan, Tsukuba

Project summary

The objective of this Project is to determine physical nature of the induced seismicity under electromagnetic impact caused by the MHD generator and to develop a technology of the controlled electromagnetic impact (EMI) on the Earth crust aimed at the seismic hazard reduction.

Seismicity is a process that is highly sensitive to external impacts, both natural and technogenic. The induced seismicity is caused mainly by human technological activity. Changes in the seismicity regime are observed during water-storage reservoir flooding; in the regions where intensive oil & gas extraction takes place; during deep-well disposal of wastes, etc. Also stated is the fact that underground nuclear explosions may effect spatio-temporal seismicity distribution and initiate its increase at separations up to 200-2,000 km.

Recently, principally new results are obtained concerning the seismicity regime variation under the EMI caused by the MHD generator. The preliminary analysis of the EMI results shows the following principal features of such induced seismicity:

- Significant spatio-temporal variations of the seismicity regime are revealed: the seismic activity after the MHD runs is pronouncedly higher than before the runs.

- Sharp activation of local earthquakes takes place on 2th-7th day after the MHD runs, its duration being within several days.

- The increment of the total energy release after the MHD runs is 5 to 6 orders of magnitude higher than total energy inserted into the load from the MHD generator.

- Also noted is a tendency to spatial coincidence of the induced seismicity zones with the active areas of seismogenerating zones.

- The analysis seismicity variation with depth shows that the highest response takes place in the upper 5-km layer of the earth crust.

The external impact is assumed to initiate release of seismic energy accumulated in the media during the tectonic processes in the form of relatively weak earthquakes thus lowering the threshold level of strong catastrophic earthquakes.

The Project goal is to determine the nature of the induced seismicity and to develop a technology background of the controlled electromagnetic impact on the geophysical media.

The Project includes solution of the following tasks.

Task 1. “Study of physical nature of the induced seismicity under the electromagnetic impact on the geophysical media”.

Task 2. “Development of the design concept of the problem oriented MHD generator for the electromagnetic impact on the geophysical media”.

Within the frame of the Project, the following research & development will be performed:

- A model development of the induced seismicity generation under the EMI.
- The EMI technology development.
- Development of the design concept of the problem oriented MHD generator for the EMI.
- Conclusions, recommendations. Field experiment program.

The Project realization will provide a background for solution of fundamental and applied problems of the seismic hazard reduction.

The Project engages scientists and high qualified specialists in seismology, geophysics, dynamical geoelectricity studying the induced seismicity problems in general and under the EMI in particular. Also engaged are scientists who previously worked within the field of underground nuclear explosion control.

The Project should direct the efforts of scientists and high qualified specialists including those previously employed in military technologies onto the civil investigations, according to the ISTC principles.

Now, we possess the efficient controlled device of high-power impact on seismogenic zones and observe significant spatio-temporal variations of the seismicity regime. Therewith, the seismic energy is released in a form of relatively weak earthquake thus lowering the threshold level of strong catastrophic ones.

At the final stage of the Project, a program will be presented of practical implementation of the results obtained: “Field Experiments on Electromagnetic Impact on the Geophysical Media at the Particular Seismoactive Region”.

The results of the Project may also be considered as a background of the EMI in the regions of high-rise dams, unique industrial objects, nuclear power stations, productive oil & gas fields, ore deposits, liquid waste polygons, in order to control the seismic regime.

The decisive argument for the presented schematics of impact on the media is also the ecology aspect of the MHD generator application versus, for example, underground nuclear explosions or deep-well fluid disposal.

The Project is in complete agreement with the ISTC goals.

The Project includes study of natural and technogenic process influence on the seismicity regime; theoretical investigations of the induced seismicity under the EMI; physical modeling; analysis of spatio-temporal distribution of the induced seismicity on the base of the EMI experimental data; the background development of the EMI technology; design concept development of the problem oriented energy source.

The investigation program is developed in near coordination with Foreign Collaborators. With their participation, directions of practical realization will be determined for both scientific Project results and the most prospective applications including those commercial.

Technical approaches and methods are based on the well-known precepts of seismology, dynamical geophysics, and pulsed energetics. In the R&D process, the following techniques will be applied:

- Estimations of energy of seismic and electromagnetic field interaction.
- Theoretical and numerical techniques of energy estimation of seismicity and interaction of seismic and electric field.
- Experimental laboratory study of pressured and electrically polarized specimens under physical and technical consideration.


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