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Interesting. I always assumed that the energies involved in major earthquakes were far too large for us to affect them in any way.

If we can cause them, I wonder, will we be able to prevent the natural ones as our knowledge increases?

Earth's crust "wants" to move. One thing is triggering an earthquake by fracking, another one is stopping the crust with all the mantle below pushing heat into it. That heat has to go somewhere. I guess the best we'll reasonably do is forecasting quakes.

Hypothetically, if you could cause earthquakes in a controlled way, it may be possible to perform periodic small stress relief quakes rather than allowing one big one to occur naturally. We can't stop it moving, but maybe we can make it move on our terms.

Exactly, this seems like an interesting avenue to explore.

I think to remember that wet faults (as in "there is water mixed with the rocks") slide more frequently that dry faults and yield energy in less powerful bursts. If so, lubrificating faults could be a solution. Unfortunately I found a paper from 2017 [1] that suggests that it's not so simple. There are many more micro conditions that can trigger an earthquake.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580450/

You only need the energy to pull the trigger of a gun to release the energy of a bullet.

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