Can fracking lead to a major Earthquake?

Can fracking lead to a major Earthquake?
MGN Online
Weather Talk
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 4:35pm

I think it's safe to say we all saw this coming.

For those who don't know what fracking is, it's hydraulic fracturing. But it's easier and more fun to say fracking.

This has been going on for years, but just recently, Geologists in Ohio have linked fracking to earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians.

A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies fracking, in the Utica Shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, according to State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers.

But my question is, how could you not relate the small temblors to fracking? How could you think that drilling into the earth's crust, would not cause some kind of reaction?

According to CBS News, the types of quakes connected to the industry are generally small and not easily felt.

I understand that this is a huge part of our every day life. But what I don't understand is the fact, that some people think fracking will never cause a major earthquake.

Ohio state officials say the company that set off the Ohio quakes was following rules and appeared to be using common practices.

Shouldn't this scare the public a little bit more?

Just so everyone is on the same page, fracking involves pumping huge volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow.

With today's technology, the process has allowed energy companies to gain access to huge stores of natural gas but has raised widespread concerns that it might lead to groundwater contamination and as some people are barely realizing, earthquakes.

What makes this news "worth mentioning" is that the region encompassing Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where energy companies have drilled thousands of unconventional gas wells in recent years, it's a first that earthquakes have been linked to fracking.

The Utica Shale lies beneath the better-known Marcellus Shale, which is more easily accessible and is considered one of the world's richest gas reserves.

A U.S. government-funded report released in 2012 found two worldwide instances of shaking can be attributed to actual extraction of oil and gas, a magnitude-2.8 quake in Oklahoma and a magnitude-2.3 quake in England. Both were in 2011.

Good news is that after the small temblors the state felt this past month, Ohio has issued new permit conditions this past week in certain areas that are among the nation's strictest.

The Canadian government also implemented stricter regulations after quakes in British Columbia's Horn River Basin between 2009 and 2011 were linked to fracking.

Needless to say, these "stricter regulations" had little effect on the pace or volume of drilling.

I am not against drilling for oil, I know this is one of the main ways to keep our society running proficiently, what I am against, is people not taking this matter seriously.

We are just starting to feel small and quiet temblors. Nothing major, and like the state says, most of these can't even be felt by people.

But just remember, everything has a limit, and if we aren't careful now, who's to say the next time I write about fracking, it won't be about a small temblor, but rather a major earthquake.

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