Margaret Boettcher Lecture



Mining-Induced Seismicity: the importance of tiny (and not so tiny) earthquakes

A public lecture by Margaret Boettcher, Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of New Hampshire

Mining-induced seismicity poses significant risks to local communities and to resource production. Yet, these earthquakes also provide the unique scientific opportunity to access active fault zones at depth. High-quality seismic data from mines provides valuable insight into how earthquakes start, rupture, and stop.  Furthermore, tiny earthquakes in mines help to bridge the gap between our understanding of unconstrained natural earthquakes and well-constrained laboratory experiments, allowing us to address fundamental questions in earthquake science such as whether small earthquakes are driven by a different process than larger ones.

In this lecture Dr Boettcher focussed on observations of earthquakes in deep South African mines. As mining progresses deeper, other mines are closed and flooded, and wastewater from shale gas production continues to be generated, the rate and size of induced seismicity will likely continue to rise. Thus, it is essential to improve our understanding of human-induced earthquakes, particularly in regions of societal and economic importance. Join us to learn about seismicity in some of the deepest mines on Earth. 

Margaret Boettcher is an Associate Professor of Geophysics at the University of New Hampshire. Her research aims to constrain the physical properties of fault zones using records of earthquake ground motion, laboratory friction experiments, and numerical models. She is particularly interested in contributing to the worldwide effort to address seismic hazard issues of societal importance. Her contributions have largely focused on understanding earthquakes in two very different, yet relatively simple, environments: mid-ocean ridge transform faults and deep gold mines.

Margaret Boettcher is a UWA Robert and Maude Gledden Senior Visiting Fellow.