Fracking Tied to Unusual Rise in Earthquakes in Central U.S.
In a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, researchers say they are almost certain that a series of earthquakes in the middle of the U.S. could result from the injection into the ground of wastewater from oil or gas drilling. The study shows that there was an average of 21 seismic events in the central area of the nation each year for the last three decades of the twentieth century, compared with 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011. The researchers will present the statistics and discuss their study at a conference of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego during the third week in April.
The study is expected to add to the pressure for more regulation of the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used by the energy industry. David Hayes, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, said that government scientists are seeing a significant increase of seismic activity in areas where wastewater is disposed through deep well injection. Hayes said that the quakes were relatively small and did not usually cause damage. He acknowledged that not all wastewater disposal wells result in earthquakes but said there is no way to determine if a well will cause a temblor.
Read the entire article on the effects of fracking: Fracking Tied to Rise in Earthquakes (Bloomberg 4/12/12)