Shemin Ge

Shemin Ge
University of Colorado at Boulder

2018 O.E. Meinzer Award

Presented to Shemin Ge

Citation by Jonathan Godt

Improving the understanding of geologic hazards to support decision making is a plain demonstration of the relevance and value of science. Shemin Ge’s groundbreaking contributions in the past decade have advanced the understanding of the interactions between fluid pressure and rock deformation, and she has applied this new knowledge in creative ways to variety of societally relevant problems, particularly induced seismicity.

Shortly after the devastating M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake in western China in 2008, Shemin Ge and colleagues launched an exploratory study on the possible role of a recently constructed reservoir and the resulting pore-pressure generation and propagation. Their findings challenge geophysicists to expand their perspectives beyond traditional solid mechanics and highlight the need to broadly consider earthquake risk in reservoir construction and operation (Ge and others, 2009; Ge, 2011).

The past decade has been marked by an increase in seismic activity in part of the U.S. where earthquakes are historically rare. In collaboration with a multi-disciplinary working group, Shemin Ge and her colleagues identified a quantitative correlation between wastewater injection rate and earthquake occurrence at the national scale for the first time(Weingarten and others, 2015). These finding provides sound guidelines for the management of waste-water injection activities reducing earthquake risk.

Her more recent work probes deeper into the mechanics of induced seismicity. Shemin Ge and her collaborators’ systematic advances in the physics of pore-pressure generation and diffusion resulting from injection have defined the hydromechanical states for earthquake generation for a range of operational scenarios and geologic settings (Brown and others, 2017; Nakai and others, 2017; Keranen and others, 2014)

Shemin Ge’s many intellectual and service contributions to her colleagues, students, institution, and the greater scientific endeavor make her a most deserved recipient of the O.E. Meinzer Award.

The following papers were cited in support of the 2018 O.E. Meinzer Award:

Ge, S., Liu, M., Lu, N., Godt, J.W., and Luo, 2009, Did the Zipingpu reservoir trigger the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 36, p. L20315, doi:10.1029/2009GL040349.

Ge, S., 2011, Comment on “Evidence that the 2008 MW 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake could not have been induced by the Zipingpu reservoir” by Kai Deng and others: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 101, p. 3117-3118, doi: 10.1785/0120110066.

Keranen, K.M., Weingarten, M., Abers, G.A. Bekins, B.A., and Ge, S., 2014, Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection: Science, v. 345, p. 448-451, doi:10.1126/science.1255802.

McGarr, A., Bekins, B., Burkhardt, N., Dewey, J., Earle, P., Ellsworth, W., Ge, S., Hickman, S., Holland, A., Majer, E., Rubinstien, J., and Sheehan, A., 2015, Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection: Science, v. 347, p. 830-831, doi:10.1126/science.aa0494.

Weingarten, M., Ge, S., Godt, J.W., Bekins, B.A., and Rubinstein, J.L., 2015, High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity: Science, v. 348, p. 1336-1340, doi:10.1126/science.aab1345.

Brown, M.R.M., Ge, S., Sheehan, A.F., and Nakai, J.S., 2017, Evaluating the effectiveness of induced seismicity mitigation: Numerical modeling of wastewater injection near Greely, Colorado: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 122, p. 6569-6582, doi:10.1002/2017JB01446.

Nakai, J.S., Weingarten, M., Sheehan, A.F., Bilek, S.L., and Ge, S., 2017, A possible causative mechanism of Raton Basin, New Mexico and Colorado earthquakes using recent seismicity patterns and pore pressure modeling: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 122, p. 8051-8065, doi:10.1002/2017JB014415.