The November 2017 Mw 5.5 Pohang earthquake: A possible case of induced seismicity in South Korea


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Abstract

The moment magnitude (Mw) 5.5 earthquake that struck South Korea in November 2017 was one of the largest and most damaging events in that country over the past century. Its proximity to an enhanced geothermal system site, where high-pressure hydraulic injection had been performed during the previous 2 years, raises the possibility that this earthquake was anthropogenic. We have combined seismological and geodetic analyses to characterize the mainshock and its largest aftershocks, constrain the geometry of this seismic sequence, and shed light on its causal factors. According to our analysis, it seems plausible that the occurrence of this earthquake was influenced by the aforementioned industrial activities. Finally, we found that the earthquake transferred static stress to larger nearby faults, potentially increasing the seismic hazard in the area.

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