Artificial Relaxation of Tectonic Stresses
and Decrease of Seismic Hazard

A. V. Nikolaev

Institute of Environmental Geoscience, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Ulanskii per. 13, Moscow, 101000 Russia

Received April 20, 1999

Abstract—The natural and technological effects on seismicity are studied with the help of the statistical meth-
ods based on the correlation between an effect and a response. In individual seismic regions, earthquakes can
be initiated or suppressed by identical effects; they can also be insensitive to these effects or change their
response to them. The natural initiating processes—the Earth’s tides, variations in the Earth’s rotation velocity
and atmospheric pressure, and strong earthquakes—accelerate preparation of the focuses of strong tectonic
earthquakes and decrease their energy neutralized by earthquakes of medium and low magnitudes. Artificial
seismic and electric impacts—nuclear and chemical explosions and powerful pulses induced by electric gener-
ators—have the same aftereffects. The effects that are in harmony with nature are environmentally pure and use-
ful, because they finally lead to a decrease in the seismic hazard and risk. The effects changing the thermody-
namic conditions and physicochemical properties of the environment—oil and gas recovery, extraction of solid
minerals, injection of liquid industrial waste into the strata, and creation of large storage reservoirs—clash with
nature and can initiate destructive tectonic earthquakes that could occur never or in hundreds and thousands of
years time. These effects irreversibly change the natural environment and are harmful, leading to an increased
seismic hazard and risk. In order to decrease the likelihood of undesirable consequences, it is recommended to
select optimum regimes of artificial seismic and electric effects, which should be in agreement with natural pro-
cesses, and to use them for the preventive relaxation of tectonic stresses and a decrease in the seismic hazard.