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Sierra Daily

Nov 03, 2011

Quaking and Fracking

A report by the UK’s Cuadrilla Resources concluded that a series of earthquakes in Lancashire, UK, were likely caused by hydraulic fracturing. Another study, written by a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, suspects that a swarm of quakes in Gavin County, Oklahoma, could have been induced by fracking.

While it’s established that “induced seismicity”can be the result of large scale drilling and injection processes, it’s too easy to conclude that fracking and quakes are inextricably linked. That goes for the 5.8 quake centered in Mineral, Virginia, in August that rattled the Eastern Seaboard. The epicenter was at least 80 miles from the Marcellus Shale formation that is the center of East Coast natural-gas drilling, and East Coast quakes, as its residents were recently reminded, are a natural occurrence. According to the United States Geological Survey, the “Central Virginia Seismic Zone has produced small and moderate earthquakes since at least the 18th century. The previous largest historical shock from the Central Virginia Seismic Zone occurred in 1875.”

Still, Environment & Energy News does point out that because of ongoing quake/fracking news, “hydraulic fracturing may be in for a bumpy ride.”

-- Reed McManus

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