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Can oil drilling create or magnify earthquakes? Info on Santa Barbara region…

2011 update: A commission in Arkansas, studying a series of earthquakes, believes that gas drilling is connected to increased earthquake activity in Arkansas. Story at the Daily Mail UK: here.

KW: These are comments from Chris Landau (see bio at bottom) in an e-mail of  Monday, April 5, 2010 4:14 AM. Landau had an April 2nd article about drilling on the Santa Barbara fault-line which I discovered in researching the April 4th earthquake. So, I sent an e-mail to get comments…

The Santa Barbara region, as my article suggests is on a gigantic east-west fault line running out to across the Pacific Ocean for 3000 miles….My concern is that fault zones slip smoothly though the presence of water and oil in these zones…If these lubricating fluids are removed, larger scale earthquakes will occur with time. – Chris Landau

Thank you for taking an interest in my article and providing a link to this article. There are 3 links here to the USGS (United States Geological Survey Maps)




The first one is a real time link to earthquakes occurring in California.

The second is a real time link to earthquakes occurring in the USA.

The third is a real time link to earthquakes occurring around the world.

The blue squares represent earthquakes occurring in the last 24 hours. As the world is linked and cross-linked by a maze of tens of millions of large and smaller scale fault zones, when faulting or slippage occurs on one fault it does affect the others close by. The affects diminish with distance, but a large earthquake such as 7.2 on the Richter scale like the one that has occurred near Mexicali on the US-Mexican border, will affect those fault lines to the north, south, east and west.

So, the little squares marked in blue, representing the earthquakes that occurred today along the thin red lines, which are some of the fault lines are probably related to this big earthquake we had today.

Earthquakes can originate from all sorts of depths from a few miles down, to great depths of 40 to 60 miles down. This one on April 4 2010, was 6.2 miles in depth and about 16 miles from Guadalupe. This town will suffer more damage than Mexicali which is further away on the border with the USA.

The link below from the USGS gives details of earthquakes and depth of occurrence around the world over many years.


As the Haitian Earthquake (8.1 miles deep) and The Chilean Earthquakes near Concepcion(21.7 miles deep) were very close to gigantic subduction zones where oceanic basalt is being pushed down under the continents, on the ever moving conveyor belt of continental and oceanic  plates of the world, I am pretty sure these  quakes are not related to oil drilling. If one suspects human interference in the form of oil or gas drilling or mining such as in the 3 mile deep gold mines of South Africa, it is easy to confirm this by the wealth of available data from the internet and the depth of the earthquake.

Simply check on the USGS web site, which will tell you at what depth the earthquake originated. If it is shallow, say a few miles deep, natural or human activity may have triggered the event. If it is deep say 20 miles or deeper you can rule out human activities. I think the deepest wells or boreholes in the world only reach down to about 7 miles and that is rare.

Examples of mining induced earthquakes are well known in South Africa. The rock is very hard and the inland area very stable with few active fault zones, so when earthquakes occur they are less than 5 on the Richter Scale and do not cause much damage on the surface. The tunnel collapse cause the earthquakes. It is an “Other way round scenario.” The earthquakes do not cause the tunnels to collapse. Many thousands of miners have died in these mining induced earthquakes.

The Santa Barbara region, as my article suggests is on a gigantic east-west fault line running out to across the Pacific Ocean for 3000 miles. There was a major oil blowout and spill here in 1969 which resulted in oil flowing up through the fractured bedrock for 3 months. Since that time, the residents established GOO (Get Oil Out) and no new drilling was allowed. The existing wells are still pumping oil. Oil and gas pours out naturally through the fractured bedrock and has been recorded as having done so for at least 200 years. The Native Americans used this oil to waterproof their boats.

My concern is that fault zones slip smoothly though the presence of water and oil in these zones.

If these lubricating fluids are removed, larger scale earthquakes will occur with time. As no further drilling is allowed at this stage off shore,on the west coast, that will help. Drilling into the fault zone continues on shore in Santa Barbara, Ventura and LA counties. This is not good.

Here is a link to some of the larger scale fault zones of California. As can be seen the Santa Barbara –LA area is the most heavily faulted area with the most intersecting faults. It is definitely a very dangerous area to live in.


There is another very large fault zone coming ashore between Rio Dell and Redway in northern California.  It is also at least 3000 miles in length.

The magnitude 6.0 earthquake on the Richter scale occurred here on February 4, 2010. I think this is a highly active fault zone. I would rate the area as very dangerous. The fault trend goes though Anderson, between Red Bluff and Redding and on through Lassen Volcanic National Park. This area, along with the Santa Barbara/Los Angeles area are the two most dangerous areas to live in, on the west coast as far as I am concerned.

The mistake that is being made is to that the gigantic fault zones that run across the Pacific Ocean are being ignored and not clearly delineated on maps to give the public a clear idea on how these faults dwarf every fault zone on the land including the famous San Andreas fault. These are the real faults to keep an eye on. They will cause the most devastation when they move. The warning here is to the oil and gas industry to keep away. They would want to drill here because the faults are helping to generate more oil and gas.  They are however dangerous unstable fractured zones where a great environmental disaster would result from many fractured pipelines and the fractured formations which could not be sealed if hundreds to thousands of wells are sunk into this region.


The short bio of Chris Landau is: He was born in South Africa in 1958, and later became a citizen of the United States. He is interested in astronomy, meteorology, geology and biology. He has given two peer-reviewed papers for professional geologist organizations. He can be reached at: chrislandau at yahoo.com

Here is the full bio that Chris Landau sent over:

I was born in South Africa in 1958. I came to the USA with my wife and three daughters in 2003. We became US citizens in 2009 and 2010. My wife Susan is a Special Education English Teacher. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Micro anatomy and biochemistry. I have two daughters at university and one at school. I am very lucky to be surrounded by such talented woman. They all love creative writing, poetry and cats.

I am a vegetarian and enjoy growing trees, vegetables and plants from seed.

My interests lie in astronomy, meteorology, geology and biology.

In astronomy I am interested in dimensions, the speed of electromagnetic radiation in different density conditions, redshift, magnetism associated with rings of planets and stars, black holes and contracting galaxies and the expansion and contraction of the universe.

In meteorology, my interests lie in long-range hourly weather timing predictions through tidal forces for both convectional and cyclonic rainfall.

In geology, my interests are in the inorganic origin of oil, gas and coal, under reducing conditions, through hydrogen sulfide and water acting on carbon dioxide and calcareous formations. My chemical and thermodynamic equations to prove how this occurred have been published.

As a geologist, I delivered two peer reviewed presentations to prove the theory, one to the Association of Engineering and Environmental Geologists in 2008 (AEG). See http://www.aegweb.org/files/public/abstracts.pdf, page 17.
The other was to The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) in October 2009. See http://www.aipg.org/Meetings/2009%20Annual%20Meeting/2009proceedings.pdf, page 94.

These publications include methods of carbon capture that help generate new energy and make carbon dioxide a reusable resource.

My other interests are in large-scale earthquake fault lines and the interaction between continental drift and past big meteorite impacts and the unrecognized planetary impact sites.

I enjoy growing my own vegetable and fruit crops and hope to be self-sufficient one day.
I hope that the world will one day all be vegetarians. I believe we can only truly respect our selves and the other animals if we do not see them as a food source. No human being likes the thought of being eaten by animals. Let us all stop raising domestic animals for food.

I would like to see the oil, gas and coal being recycled daily, so no carbon dioxide or other pollutants are released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide can be reduced back to methane under reducing conditions.
Solar power should be stepped up in a huge way to create clean renewable energy for the world. Desalination of seawater by solar power is the long-term solution to our water needs and our food production. Education to limit global population growth is vital to have sustainable resources for the world and its animals. I hope one day to see the end of war as a profitable business.

I hope to provide solutions in a practical and academic fashion. I look forward to mutually beneficial relationships that exploit neither party.

Chris Landau
April 5 2010. chrislandau at yahoo.com

4 Responses

  1. […] Can mining or drilling create or magnify earthquakes? Info on Santa Barbara region… […]

  2. […] Can mining or drilling create or magnify earthquakes? Info on Santa Barbara region… […]

  3. […] Can oil drilling create or magnify earthquakes? Info on Santa Barbara region… « OntheWilderSide. April 30th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed | […]

  4. So in order for you to be happy, the entire world must be vegans. Then the poor lions, tigers, bears, and wolves killed off by the evil humans will be nice.

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