Monday, April 1, 2013

New Study Suggests Disturbing Link Between Fracking and Large Earthquakes

image source
Kevin Samson
Activist Post

There has been an ongoing battle between researchers and the natural gas and oil industries over whether or not hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is definitively leading to an increase in earthquake activity.

Since September of 2010, nearly 1,000 earthquakes have rattled Arkansas and the area around the New Madrid Fault Line. Previous to this, Arkansas had a total of 38 quakes in 2009. Yet two cities, Greenbrier and Guy had a swarm of 30 small earthquakes in a four-day period in early 2011, which paralleled fracking activity in the same area.

This uptick was echoed next-door in Oklahoma, where during roughly the same period, the state saw an increase in earthquakes from 50 per year to over 1,000 in 2010. The accumulating present-day data is also mirrored by earlier government research, as you will see below.

Now, a study has appeared from The Geology Society of America, which investigated the largest of the quakes that rattled Oklahoma and 17 other states in November of 2011. While supporting the research of others in establishing a causal link between fracking and earthquakes, they appear to have found another even more troubling aspect to the data. 

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pumps water and chemicals into the ground at a pressurized rate exceeding what the bedrock can withstand, resulting in a microquake that produces rock fractures. Though initiated in 1947, technological advances now allow horizontal fracturing, vastly increasing oil and gas collection. (Source)

The U.S. Army's Rocky Mountain Arsenal established an uncomfortable link between their own operations and rising earthquake activity near Denver, Colorado back in the early 1960s:
According to the RMA, “The Rocky Mountain Arsenal deep injection well was constructed in 1961, and was drilled to a depth of 12,045 feet” and 165 million gallons of Basin F liquid waste, consisting of “very salty water that includes some metals, chlorides, wastewater and toxic organics” was injected into the well during 1962-1966. 
Why was the process halted? “The Army discontinued use of the well in February 1966 because of the possibility that the fluid injection was “triggering earthquakes in the area,” according to the RMA. (Source)

They drew this conclusion even after the EPA stated that this method of deep injection was safe. Over the decades that would follow, both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey would accumulate data that showed a link between fracking and underground instability that can trigger earthquakes.

One of the first large studies of an Oklahoma earthquake swarm which began early in 2011 was conducted by the Oklahoma Geological Survey. The results were released in August of 2011 and conclude with a probable correlation within this event, as well as citing a connection made from the historical record:
The strong correlation in time and space as well as a reasonable fit to a physical model suggest that there is a possibility these earthquakes were induced by hydraulic fracturing. 
Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located. Most of these occurred within a 24 hour period after hydraulic fracturing operations had ceased. There have been previous cases where seismologists have suggested a link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, but data was limited, so drawing a definitive conclusion was not possible for these cases. The first case occurred in June 1978 in Carter and Love Counties, just south of Garvin County, with 70 cases in 6.2 hours. The second case occurred in Love County with 90 earthquakes following the first and second hydraulic fracturing stages. [Nicholson and Wesson, 1990] (Source)
www.OffgridOutpost.comGiven the aforementioned documentation by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Geological Survey, the data is beginning to look conclusive.

However, there is one more concern that is addressed in the most recent study conducted by the Geological Society of America, a non-profit organization with tens of thousands of members from nearly 100 countries. According to the abstract of this study, which looked most specifically at the largest earthquake reported, a 5.7 event that occurred in November (after the study cited above):
Significant earthquakes are increasingly occurring within the continental interior of the United States, including five of moment magnitude (Mw) ≥ 5.0 in 2011 alone. Concurrently, the volume of fluid injected into the subsurface related to the production of unconventional resources continues to rise. Here we identify the largest earthquake potentially related to injection, an Mw 5.7 earthquake in November 2011 in Oklahoma. The earthquake was felt in at least 17 states and caused damage in the epicentral region. It occurred in a sequence, with 2 earthquakes of Mw 5.0 and a prolific sequence of aftershocks.
Subsurface data indicate that fluid was injected into effectively sealed compartments, and we interpret that a net fluid volume increase after 18 yr of injection lowered effective stress on reservoir-bounding faults. Significantly, this case indicates that decades-long lags between the commencement of fluid injection and the onset of induced earthquakes are possible, and modifies our common criteria for fluid-induced events. The progressive rupture of three fault planes in this sequence suggests that stress changes from the initial rupture triggered the successive earthquakes, including one larger than the first [emphasis added]. (Source)
This is a worrisome conclusion which seems to indicate that even if fracking is halted, earthquake activity can continue as a result of previous activity, and earthquake magnitude can increase over time.

Much more studying needs to be done to confirm the above, and the full results still need to be scrutinized by the scientific community. However, in light of the worries already surrounding the historically dangerous New Madrid Fault Line, we should hope that definitive action is taken sooner rather than later to halt a process that is dubious at best, and cataclysmic at worst.

Note: beyond the risk of earthquakes, fracking has other horrendous consequences. To see what life is like for some residents within fracking zones, please do not miss the film Gasland.

This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


If you enjoy our work, please donate to keep our website going.


Anonymous said...

That's conclusive. And people definitely do need to see gasland, it's probably worse than the earthquakes.

Hide Behind said...

Any deaths?
Any one losing money, other than the ones who lost out to collegues on getting a grant to write or answer a few questipns.
LET her rip and who outside pf Arkansas actually gives a damn how many quakes they have.
IF you own land and can make 100k or more off of it and never want to go back sell and buy a nice house boat or bass boat.

djohnston said...

Spoken like a true psychopatk, Hide Behind.

brad said...

The "perfect" fracking fluid would be incompressible so that all pump pressure would be transmitted to the rock. Water is incompressible. The ideal fracking fluid would NOT be toxic to the water supply, and cheap. Both aspects are qualities that water has.

So why would someone use a toxic, expensive chemical? To destroy the water system. Then you have to buy water EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

GW Bush and a group own the water rights to the largest aquifer in South America, the pumping locations, AND the port facility contracts/control to ship ocean tankers of water. They just need a market.

As they kill the water systems in America, they are making their market.

brad said...

They knew this in Denver in the 70's.

Anonymous said...

This is planned! They want to divide the US at the New Madrid Fault Line by setting off the largest earthquake in US history - aimed at easier population management during civil unrest. (source: John Bolton's nephew).

HARRP and the BP oil spill are co-conspirators.

Thanks for this info.

Anonymous said...

Thats already happened here in the Algarve, tis true

AntiLieGuy said...

This is all LIES! The earthquakes (and volcanoes) are being caused by Planet X that the chemtrails hide every day globally. Your entire government and media are treasonous criminals.

ImReady said...

SO antiLieGuy, you still believe in Planet X? I'd like to see some proof, I am interested to. Just forgot about it.

irvingbissell said...

if fracking causes earthquakes then we should use that technique to relieve fault stress to cause smaller earthquakes rather than let the pressure build up to dangerous levels along fault lines.

Post a Comment