Human Induced Earthquakes: Section 4 | Nuclear Detonations


Anthropogenic Earthquake Week at CatMap

Nuking Faultlines for Fun and Profit: Would the U.S. Government Blow A 200 Megaton Nuke On Top Of A Faultline Just To See What Would Happen? You Betcha!


We have already established that 1) subterranean injection and extraction of liquids, 2) hydroelectric reservoirs and 3) mining activities cause earthquakes. This is scientific consensus at this point, more universally agreed upon than the climate change “debate” which continues to be actively sabotaged by special interests.

If these processes can cause earthquakes, then it would seem that to follow that the far more violent phenomenon of nuclear explosions would be a slam dunk, but this is not necessarily so. It is also not necessarily not so, because many of the naysayers are government authorities who prefer not to be caught quaking the earth using taxpayer dollars1 (more below):

  • A major earthquake (> 7.0) was triggered in the Nevada desert in 1968 when a 200 megaton bomb was purposely detonated on a fault line.
  • In 1992, two sequential tests at the Nevada Test Center were followed three days later by a 7.6 quake in the desert 175 miles away. Another 5.6 quake then occurred a few miles from the test site.
  • A professor at the University of New Brunswick produced a statistical analysis showing that quakes of 5.8 or more have doubled since nuclear testing began after World War II.2

Project Faultless Nevada Earthquake
The site of Project Faultless, where the AEC decided to nuke a fault line 3,200 feet underground with a 200 megaton nuclear bomb. The Feds just dropped it down the pipe shown in the photo like a kid throws a firecracker into a garbage can. The project was named “faultless” because the scientists scoffed – that’s right, they scoffed – at the idea that a nuclear explosion could cause an earthquake. But according to government archives, it caused a mojo of a quake, greater than 7.0.

Nevertheless, scientists are not in total agreement on this topic. We, of course, have an informed alarmist opinion on the matter based on contemplating a more global scenario. We’ll share after the black helicopters leave (don’t worry, it’s just the president landing at O’Hare).

First, we must deal with the matter of scientific semantics. Because a nuclear explosion is a brief, violent event, it behaves differently than the other causes we have examined. Extraction, injection, mining etc. are gradual processes that cause stress over extended periods, while underground explosions are necessarily of brief duration. The problem with the term “cause” in this context is that nuclear blasts literally are earthquakes in and of themselves. When underground atomic testing began 90 miles north of Las Vegas in 1963, the movement of the earth and property damage was sufficient to cause concern among casino owners in the burgeoning tourist destination. Howard Hughes pressured the AEC to move testing further away because earthquakes are bad for the gambling business. If customers had known the earthquakes were also nuclear detonations, it would have conceivably been much worse for business (see CatMap Nukes special report).

From a geologist’s point of view, these underground detonations did not cause earthquakes, they were earthquakes. If that seems like a distinction without a difference, that’s because you are not a trained scientist like, for example, Rick Perry or Pat Robertson.3 Underground nuclear tests have aftershocks just like real ones (and they shake the ground and rattle windows too). Nuke aftershocks are smaller than the original and cluster around that location, just like real ones. Large bomb tests register about same magnitude as moderate earthquakes. Because they are earthquakes, they do not cause them. Any questions?

Project Faultless
Thus far we have come to accept the semantics-driven fact that for a nuclear blast to cause an earthquake rather than just being an earthquake, it would have to stress a fault line and trigger a conventional quake separate from the original blast. And that’s what happened in the course of the amazing but obscure Project Faultless, when the Atomic Energy Commission decided it would be a dandy idea to drop a 200 megaton nuke` down a 3,200 ft borehole (see photo). So that’s what they did on January 19, 1968, and what they got was a doozy of an earthquake, over 7.0 on the Richter scale. The explosion tore open a 4,000 foot long trench, which varied from 15 to 100 feet wide and 3 to 23 feet deep along its length. The area around the test hole collapsed 12 to 14 feet, entrenching roughly 14 acres. Fifty miles away, a homeowner described the shock wave as lasting more than a minute.

In 1992, two sequential underground tests were conducted at the Nevada Testing Site, coinciding with a series of quakes in the Mojave desert that began three days later. Another quake hit near the blast site, powerful enough to cause over a million dollars in damage to property at Yucca Mountain (name ring a bell?). This made the taxpaying rubes in the area nervous, prompting the Dept Energy to issue a statement maintaining that there was no and is not and never could be a relationship between nuclear testing and earthquakes.
Except maybe Project Faultless, which had apparently already faded into government amnesia land. Today, official documentation for the project the Dept Energy denied took place is available on several government websites. So maybe we can’t trust the government. You can’t make this stuff up and there is no reason to.

Statistical Correlations
Gary T. Whiteford, a Professor of Geography at the University of New Brunswick, produced a study that appears to show a correlation between quakes and nuclear testing. The study plotted earthquake rates for a time period prior to the beginning of nuclear testing and compared it to data for the post testing period. In 1992, he issued his findings.

“I have conducted a long-term study of earthquakes, their location, size and frequency throughout the world using seismic data from the last 90 years. My study indicates that a significant disruption in the pattern of large magnitude quakes (6.0 and above) coincides with the advent of nuclear bomb testing. This disruptive pattern continues.

“One can say that nuclear bomb testing has no effect on the triggering of earthquakes without having to demonstrate any connection. Regrettably, my statistical research leads to the opposite and more frightening conclusion that nuclear bomb testing does have an influence on the occurrence of large earthquakes. Both hypotheses cannot be correct. Either bomb tests have an effect or they do not. The pattern of large earthquakes has changed since the 1950s. Why? More research is necessary.”

Professor Whiteford has a point that when he suggests more research might be a good idea, but how does that happen when the global powers that control nukes would prefer such research either not be done, or yield results that is consistent with their desire to blow off more nukes…perhaps to see if they can get an earthquake or two going.

Here at the (quake proof) CatMap Editorial Board bunker, we believe in a wholistic scenario that includes some science and some speculative common sense. Project Faultless provides a reasonably good argument that earthquakes can be caused by underground nukes by virtue of the fact that the government admits it. It’s also difficult to prove a direct relationship between any single blast and subsequent quakes. In the absence of absolute proof, it is more than reasonable to speculate on what the cumulative effects of nuclear blasts might actually be. If it isn’t possible to prove nuclear explosions are altering the balances in the Earth’s crust, it is equally not possible to prove they are not altering the balances in the Earth’s crust. We are in uncharted territory.

This planet is plastic and malleable, constantly shifting and even changing shape. From a truly logical point of view, it may be more absurd to insist that the thousands of nuclear bombs detonated underground since 1960 or so has no effect on the stability of the planet. If we factor in nukes with all of mankind’s other disruptive activities, then the argument become even more convincing.
And that brings us to the topic of climate change and earthquakes.

1. Just because it sounds like a conspiracy doesn’t mean it isn’t a conspiracy. For more on using “low use segments of the population” for testing, see CatastropheMap coverage of U.S. nuclear testing practices at
2. It is true that statistics are somewhat skewed by improved measurement technology, but that difference tends to mostly affect lower magnitude events.
3. The Governor of Texas and a Senator from Oklahoma respectively. Both are high profile climate change deniers who enjoy large contributions from the petroleum industry. Perry was a yell leader at Texas A&M. Inhofe was an insurance guy and land developer. We were kidding about them being scientists.
4. This bomb was ten times more powerful than the nukes that took out Hiroshima.

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