Official Fracking linked to earthquakes

idioteque

Pine away for your banner years.
Fracking quakes. If anyone doesn't know, fracking is a process used to collect natural gas. One if the byproducts is waste water that gets disposed of deep underground. It turns out that this disposal process causes dozens of small earthquakes in places where they have never happened before every year. I think this is something people should be more aware of. Oh, and the flaming methane filled tap water thing is still happening too.

Fracking may cause more earthquakes than initially thought, according to an article in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At least 59 “small-magnitude” earthquakes of 1.4 to 2.5 magnitude occurred over a two-year period ending in September in the Barnett Shale region of Texas that were never reported by the National Earthquake Information Center, said Cliff Frohlich, a senior research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Many of those earthquakes happen when fluids are injected into the ground to release natural gas, a process called hydraulic fracturing that may also relieve the friction between tectonic plates, said Frohlich, who wrote the article. The U.S. Geological Survey typically collects data for seismic events at least 3.0 in magnitude.

“Rather than just looking at earthquakes when a crash happens, let’s go look for ones that may not be bothering people and see if there are trends,” Frohlich said in a telephone interview.

These “triggered” events may be exacerbated by fracking along fault lines, and differ from “induced” events that happen solely because of human actions, such as a man-made lake weighing down and compressing a land mass, Frohlich said.

He used seismological data from EarthScope USArray, 400 connected seismographs spaced 70 kilometers (44 miles) apart. They’re relocated within the U.S. every two years and were in Texas from November 2009 through September 2011.

“I can’t study the whole country, but one field at a time I can go in and say, ‘This is what the data say,’” he said.

More research on triggered events is needed to better understand what causes them and how they may be avoided, Frohlich said.

“The data’s freely available,” he said. “A junior high school student could download the data and do what I did -- if they were familiar with seismology.”
 

YZBot

is made from stars.
Hard to follow a lot of this stuff because there is so much hyperbole. I remember the flaming water taps from Gasland and the controversy that surrounded them. Particularly that in many instances the taps had gas in them even before the gas companies started production.
 

idioteque

Pine away for your banner years.
Hard to follow a lot of this stuff because there is so much hyperbole. I remember the flaming water taps from Gasland and the controversy that surrounded them. Particularly that in many instances the taps had gas in them even before the gas companies started production.

The evidence for the earthquakes seems pretty clear. Someone mapped the epicenters of the earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas linked to fracking and they are at the water injection sites. I will post the map if I can find it.
 

Dark40

Go Slow
The evidence for the earthquakes seems pretty clear. Someone mapped the epicenters of the earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas linked to fracking and they are at the water injection sites. I will post the map if I can find it.

Sounds like liberal propaganda to me. These companies need less regulation, not more.
 

YZBot

is made from stars.
Sounds like liberal propaganda to me. These companies need less regulation, not more.

Drill baby, drill.

It's definitely troubling when you can't even find out what they are pumping into the wells.

I've seen a water well that was hydraulically fractured. The premise was very straight forward. Water, sand, and pressure. But, they seem to be pumping all sorts of weird **** down into oil and gas wells.
 

YZBot

is made from stars.
This is a different map than what I saw earlier but it shows quakes in red and injection wells in yellow.


*big image warning*
http://images.naturenplanet.com/data/images/full/2012/08/07/2053-map-showing-earthquake-epicenters-determined-in-this-study-red-circles.jpg

They do appear to correlate well. My gut says that there should be a little bit of earth-quaking going on. They are trying to fracture rock after all. Cue the geologists. How much shaking is too much? I can definitely see a problem in that if you break too much **** under the ground you could end up breaking layers and contaminating the ground water.
 

YZBot

is made from stars.
This is the actual study. It's pay-walled and I don't have access.

Two-year survey comparing earthquake activity and injection-well locations in the Barnett Shale, Texas

This link has a bit of an abstract about the study.

Study Finds Correlation Between Injection Wells and Small Earthquakes | News

Hydraulic fracturing is an industrial process in which water and various chemicals are pumped deep underground in order to fracture rock, allowing oil or gas to more easily flow to a well. As petroleum is produced at the surface, most hydraulic fracturing fluids return to the surface too. Frohlich is careful to point out that he did not evaluate the possible correlation of earthquakes with the actual hydraulic fracturing process, but rather the effects of disposing of fracturing fluids and other wastes in these injection wells.

It appears that the studied link is between earthquakes and injection sites, not earthquakes and fracking. They are not actually fracking at those sites. They're injection sites where they dispose of fracking fluids, and who knows what else, back down into wells. (which could be a whole separate point of contention in itself)

Anyone have access to the PNAS system? I would love to get a copy of the study.
 
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