Skip to comments.U.K. Quakes Likely Caused by Fracking
Posted on 11/02/2011 4:03:45 PM PDT by neverdem
Two small earthquakes that shook the Lancashire coast of northeast England and the nearby city of Blackpool earlier this year were probably caused by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—a shale gas extraction technique that was being used nearby to explore its shale gas wells—according to a report(PDF) released today. The energy company Cuadrilla Resources had begun an experimental drilling operation half a kilometer from the quakes' epicenter in March.
Fracking has caused concerns in some countries over its potential health and environmental impact—critics accuse it of contaminating drinking water with gas and the chemicals used for extraction—and it is banned in some countries and some U.S. states. Cuadrilla's is the first fracking operation conducted in the United Kingdom.
After geologists pointed the finger at Cuadrilla as the possible cause of the quakes, it commissioned independent experts to prepare a report on the topic. Entitled Geomechanical Study of Bowland Shale Seismicity, it has concluded that it is "highly probable" that the quakes were triggered by Cuadrilla's fracking: high pressure injection of fluids into rocks in order to fracture them and release shale gas. But the quakes were a fluke, the report continues, as the geology of the region was highly unusual to begin with.
Seismologist Brian Baptie of the British Geological Survey, which was not involved in the report, says this is the first time hydraulic fracturing has been shown to cause earthquakes, although it is not entirely surprising. Injection of fluid waste from shale gas and oil drilling has caused small quakes in the past. Fluid injection, he explains, creates small fissures in the rocks that allow them to slide more easily past each other, "lubricating" them in a sense. In the case of the Cuadrilla site, the report stated, this occurred near an already-stressed fault. The fluid spread over a period of 10 hours after injection and caused the quakes.
Following the magnitude 2.3 quake on 1 April and a 1.5-magnitude quake on 27 May, Cuadrilla voluntarily suspended drilling and fracking operations on 31 May. Drilling resumed, although it is shut down today due to activists who climbed the drilling towers in Lancashire to highlight fears prior to a fracking conference in London. Whether fracking will continue at the site is to be determined: Cuadrilla spokesperson Stephen Smith says that while the company could voluntarily resume at any time, they're currently awaiting reaction to the report and will work in concert with government recommendations.
It's unlikely, the report concluded, that any quake caused by this combination of geological factors could exceed magnitude 3—too small to cause any real damage. But because the fractures are relatively shallow, Baptie says, quakes of this magnitude could cause objects to slide around on shelves and cause alarm. "If quakes are in the same place and you're generating them on a routine basis, it starts to raise questions," he says. The report suggested a "traffic light" system for Cuadrilla to monitor Earth shaking in the future.
The report is now entering peer review. "We want it to subjected to maximum scrutiny; it's not in Cuadrilla's interest to discover a problem down the road," Smith says.
The Greenies will jump on this!
This is what really pi$$es me off about current journalism. They start with a leadin that wants you to believe that such-and-such is responsible for something and then, at the last moment, after some percentage has stopped reading, they say; "Actually, the whole report is bogus." They ought to be shot.
Is this the same UK that forged the data to support global warming? ROTFLMAO
No credibility at all....
Fracking is the new global warming for some of these leftist mutts.
This just in: Wind probably caused by vac truck en route to a fracking site.
Its the Greenies that wrote it.
News Flash......UK freezing deaths caused by natural gas shortage.
Actually, Al Gore was seen in the area, farting. The real cause of the quakes was methane emission.
If I’m reading this right, the fracking didn’t “cause” the quake - plate tectonics did that. It precipitated the quake, but in doing so it moderated the effects of a quake that was going to happen there eventually, anyway.
Oh boy...here we go. Just another way of shutting down energy INDEPENDENCE!!! F***ers!!!
These clowns look for any excuse for mankind to stop producing energy.
These elitists want to depopulate and de-industrialize the entire world.
They never want to volunteer to leave first, however.....
In related news: US quacks likely caused by colleges.
Remember this story, and keep it in mind when the Left says that they are on the side of “science” against the “forces of superstition and ignorance” on the Right.
This nonsense, this absurd cargo-cult superstition, is what they mean by “science.”
Tell me about it. I was driving into work this morning and KTRH (740 AM in Houston) was reading the morning's news. They mentioned the pipeline coming from Canada and I assume they were reading a Reuters/AP story. At the end they said "The Obama administration has said it will determine whether or not the pipeline will be built. Concern over the building of the pipeline has caused protests all around the country."
Now...here is what ticks me off. It's a journalist trick. Technically...they are correct. A handfull of people have protested in several cities around the country over the pipeline. But the intention was there to sell the point to the un-informed: "THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE ARE AGAINST THIS...SO YOU SHOULD BE TOO!"
They are so disengenuous and manipulative in their portrayal of the facts. It's sickening.
Remember back many years ago (I’m guessing maybe 30 or 40) that we conducted a nuke test on some remote Aleutian Island (was it Amchitka?) and the weenies were warning it could trigger an earthquake and tsunamis in Alaska?
It’s the sin.
Pass it on.
Too much fracking fracking!
Logical fallacy much?