Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar: Dr. Cliff Frohlich


Monday, February 02, 2015


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Dr. Cliff Frohlich, Associate Director & Senior Research Scientist, University of Texas at Austin Institute for Geophysics, will present a talk entitled "Human-caused earthquakes in Texas and elsewhere: All alike in that they are all different" as part of the Claude R. Hocott Graduate Seminar Series.

Abstract: Scientists have known for at least 50 years that earthquakes are sometimes induced or triggered by various human activities, including injection of waste fluids into deep wells and the filling of deep manmade lakes and reservoirs. However, recent widespread interest in this phenomenon only began after a series of earthquakes occurred in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2008-2009, followed by apparently-induced earthquakes in various other locations, including Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, British Columbia, and Great Britain. Although both government regulators and the operators of injection disposal wells would like to find simple predictive models that govern induced seismicity, the observations indicate that the relationship between production/injection and seismicity differs at each location. This is perhaps unsurprising given that subsurface geology, hydrology and stress varies regionally. In the future it is likely that there will be increased efforts to collect better information about the subsurface near injection wells, and this will make it possible to construct more accurate geomechanical models of the phenomenon.

Bio: Frohlich received both his MS and PhD in physics from Cornell University, and his BA in Mathematics and Physics from Grinnell College. He has been the Associate Director for the University of Texas at Austin Institute of Geophysics since 1997, a Senior Research Scientist since 1989, and was a Research Scientist at the Institute from 1978-1989. Frohlich is a Certified Professional Geoscientist. Before coming to UT Austin, Frohlich was an adjunct  assistant professor and instructor for the State University of New York at Birminham. Frohlich has authored or coauthored more than 100 publications in professional journals, including 21 in the Journal of Geophysical Research, 14 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 6 in Geophysical Journal International, 7 in the American Journal of Physics, 5 in Nature, two in Scientific American, two in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and one in Science. Thirteen of his publications focus on earthquakes in Texas. He is the author of two books: Texas Earthquakes, coauthored with Scott Davis and published by the University of Texas Press in 2002; and Deep Earthquakes, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006.