By Dan Oancea

"Geologists working near California's San Andreas Fault have found a way to monitor the strength of a geologic fault — a finding which could be used to predict when a fault would fail and cause an earthquake.

Faults are breaks in the Earth's crust where one side of the break moves relative to the other. When the fault fails, the walls of rock slip against each other, causing an earthquake." reports CBC.

"The researchers found that the San Andreas Fault zone was riddled with fluid-filled fractures, and these fractures sometimes shifted slightly. The repeated earthquakes also became smaller and more frequent, indicating a weakened fault, the researchers said.

'Movement of the fluid in these fractures lubricates the fault zone and thereby weakens the fault,' said Fenglin Niu of Rice University."

Nowadays the role that water plays in helping trigger seismic events is (or it should be) well established. Read Related Articles for a better understanding of the problem.

And if you are a mine geologist (not interested in seismology/earthquakes) but you still have to carry on specific underground duties (geological & geotechnical mapping included) simply look for those water-bearing fracture zones/faults that 'leak' water down into your mining work for identifying weak zones that are prone to rock bursts/falls/compartment movements. Dewater/drain them if possible (talk to a hydrogeologist if you cannot figure out where the water is coming from) and make sure that adequate support is provided for those weak zones (shotcreting, rock bolting won't do it, that's for sure) - work with some mining engineers on this one.

Good luck.