When I was scholar at one class on "aircraft equipments" we also talked about weapons. The teacher mentioned that the military was developing weapons which were going to cause earthquakes. That was many years ago but whenever I hear about some earthquakes I am skeptical that maybe some of mega forces in world has madded that with reasons.

  • Related: Can HAARP affect weather or earthquakes?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 0:21
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    Your question boils down to if it is theoretically possible to start an earthquake. The answer to any "is is theoretically possible" question is almost always "yes". Because of that this site is rather about "Was in fact earthquake X caused by a bomb". That means that unless you can find a claim that a particular earthquake was caused by man, this is not a real question, in my opinion. Commented May 5, 2011 at 7:43
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    @Lennart, what if the question became: "Do there exist government-funded weapons programs with the goal of triggering earthquakes?", or perhaps "Are there any scientifically-plausible concerns that existing weapons have a good chance of triggering earthquakes?"
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 17:09
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    @Oddthinking: That are way better questions, yes. "Does X exist" questions are a bit problematic though as X generally tend to not exist and you can't prove non-existence. Commented May 7, 2011 at 7:24
  • @Lennart, it is indeed possible to prove nonexistence, assuming sufficient knowledge of the phenomenon exists. For instance, it is possible to prove the nonexistence of a supermassive black hole inside the earth, because we can measure the nonexistence of the effects associated with such an object. Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 17:19

4 Answers 4


This may or may not be relevant to part of your question, but in 2006, exploratory drilling near Basel in Switzerland was considered responsible for a minor earthquake.


It even went to trial in 2009, and from what I can see, further drilling was suspended.

  • it's well established that oil and gas drilling in the Netherlands causes small tremors from time to time. Not enough to do damage, but enough that they register. I'm pretty sure the same happens elsewhere. A quick search should bring up information from geological departments about such.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 5:50

It's hard to know for sure because relevant research is classified. On April 28, 1997 the US Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen claimed in a DoD News Briefing that there are attempts to develop such weapons.

Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.


Funny that you bring this up, just this evening some drunk in the subway claimed that recent tsunamis were caused by submarines.

For earthquakes, however, there is even research as to whether large-scale earthquakes may have been caused by human activity (not deliberately in this case).

Specifically, Kerr et al. argue that there may have been a Human Trigger for the Great Quake of Sichuan?. There is speculation that the man-made Zipingpu reservoir caused or at least triggered the quake, but data is bad.

Still, no one is near to proving that the Wenchuan quake was a case of reservoir-triggered seismicity. “There's no question triggered earthquakes happen,” says seismologist Leonardo Seeber of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. That fact and the new evidence argue that the quake-dam connection “is worth pursuing further,” he says, but proving triggering “is not easy.” And the Chinese government is tightly holding key data.

If Science is paywalled to you, here's a Discover magazine article discussing said paper.


Can the human make earthquakes?

Of course we can, it easy that many think:

Can any of those methods be weaponized?

Nope so much, even for the "already weaponized one", those are small geoengineering projects (reads as gigantic endeavors of massive size and cost) a bit off-place for a "earthquake bomb" (in layman's terms too little bang for the buck).

but that doesn`t stop the british and north americans to name his bombs as "Earthquake bombs", when in fact are Massive Ordnance Penetrator

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