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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 56

by Professor R. Console, National Institute of Geophysics, Rome (Italy)

In the XXI century the role of research in environmental problems will very likely increase and the influence of adverse technological effects on the environment will grow. One of such problems is the continuing likelihood of natural and man-made catastrophic events. Over the last few decades dozens of destructive earthquakes have taken place, causing loss of human life and extensive property damage. A few of these earthquakes were induced by industrial activity. Passive expectation of future disasters is not an acceptable environmental strategy for the XXI century.

The papers contained in this volume (NATO ASI SERIES 2_4) are related to the presentations given by more than 30 scientists at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop held in Moscow from 9 to 12 November, 1994. These papers reflect quite a number of different studies carried out on induced seismicity, both from the experimental and the theoretical viewpoints.

The book reviews examples of seismic activity induced by Underground Nuclear Explosions (UNEs), as a manifestation of accelerated tectonic release. UNEs also have aftershocks of small magnitude, usually for several weeks, occurring within a few kilometers of the shot point. This is a phenomenon of importance in the context of monitoring a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Earthquakes triggered by impoundment of artificial reservoirs or by mining activities are also discussed. Another important object of studies reported in this volume is that of earthquakes induced by other earthquakes.

The study of problems of induced earthquakes is of high priority because it works to redress the great influence of human activity on the environment, on local and regional scales. Still controversial issues, particularly the question of remote earthquake triggering by UNEs, point out the necessity for international cooperation on comprehensive investigations in geodynamics, geomechanics and earthquake prediction.
Reference books: 2-4, C74, C144, C266, C303, E271

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