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U.K. Quakes Likely Caused by Fracking
ScienceInsider ^ | 2 November 2011 | Sara Reardon

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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Politics/Elections; Technical; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: big; earthquake; earthquakes; fat; frackers; fracking; frackinglimeys; quakes

1 posted on 11/02/2011 4:03:49 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

The Greenies will jump on this!


2 posted on 11/02/2011 4:07:11 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: neverdem
But the quakes were a fluke, the report continues, as the geology of the region was highly unusual to begin with.

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.

3 posted on 11/02/2011 4:07:24 PM PDT by econjack
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To: neverdem

Is this the same UK that forged the data to support global warming? ROTFLMAO

No credibility at all....


4 posted on 11/02/2011 4:08:45 PM PDT by bbernard
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To: neverdem

Fracking is the new global warming for some of these leftist mutts.


5 posted on 11/02/2011 4:09:17 PM PDT by MeganC (Are you better off than you were four years ago?)
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To: 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

This just in: Wind probably caused by vac truck en route to a fracking site.

6 posted on 11/02/2011 4:09:17 PM PDT by RobertClark ("Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed")
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To: Red_Devil 232

Its the Greenies that wrote it.


7 posted on 11/02/2011 4:09:19 PM PDT by ully2
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To: bbernard

News Flash......UK freezing deaths caused by natural gas shortage.


8 posted on 11/02/2011 4:10:27 PM PDT by shankbear (The GOP and the mass media are giving us another McCain......thanks.)
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To: neverdem

Actually, Al Gore was seen in the area, farting. The real cause of the quakes was methane emission.


9 posted on 11/02/2011 4:11:00 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: neverdem

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.


10 posted on 11/02/2011 4:11:38 PM PDT by tacticalogic
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To: Cicero

11 posted on 11/02/2011 4:12:42 PM PDT by Cobra64 (Too many people are incapable of critical thinking. Common sense isn't common anymore.)
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To: neverdem

Oh boy...here we go. Just another way of shutting down energy INDEPENDENCE!!! F***ers!!!


12 posted on 11/02/2011 4:13:44 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.~Thomas Jeffer)
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To: neverdem

What B.S.!!

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.....


13 posted on 11/02/2011 4:14:49 PM PDT by G Larry (I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his character)
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To: neverdem

In related news: US quacks likely caused by colleges.


14 posted on 11/02/2011 4:18:01 PM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a permanent Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: neverdem

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.”


15 posted on 11/02/2011 4:19:49 PM PDT by denydenydeny (The moment you step into a world of facts, you step into a world of limits. --Chesterton)
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To: econjack
This is what really pi$$es me off about current journalism.

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.

16 posted on 11/02/2011 4:21:18 PM PDT by NELSON111
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To: neverdem

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?


17 posted on 11/02/2011 4:21:23 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (I'm sticking with Herman. No more second terms!)
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To: neverdem

It’s the sin.

Pass it on.


18 posted on 11/02/2011 4:21:54 PM PDT by ROTB (Christian sin breeds enemies for the USA. If you're a Christian, stop sinning, and spread the Word..)
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To: neverdem

Too much fracking fracking!


19 posted on 11/02/2011 4:22:23 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: bbernard

Logical fallacy much?


20 posted on 11/02/2011 4:23:37 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: neverdem

Bad science alert.

Bad science alert.

Correlation is not necessarily causation.

Liberals...you’ll have to look at the math def of correlation...please avoid your normal smarmy wordy mushy liberal arts bull-Obama definitions, please.

We’re talkin’ science here.


21 posted on 11/02/2011 4:27:56 PM PDT by Da Coyote (Politics is proof of God. He created a position for those without any abilities whatsoever.)
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To: neverdem

Friction from fracking cause fractures.


22 posted on 11/02/2011 4:29:40 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard (Some men just want to watch the world burn.)
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And Iranians’ pains are mainly from Khomeini.


23 posted on 11/02/2011 4:30:54 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard (Some men just want to watch the world burn.)
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To: G Larry

I can never figure out why thier mothers just didn’t abort them.


24 posted on 11/02/2011 4:32:21 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Romney as president will just destroy the country slower than Obama.)
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To: neverdem

The lubricants make the pushing smoother. Less likely severe jolts instead you have smooth sliding.


25 posted on 11/02/2011 4:32:44 PM PDT by listenhillary (Look your representatives in the eye and ask if they intend to pay off the debt. They will look away)
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To: tacticalogic

You said exactly what I was going to post — but, you said it better.


26 posted on 11/02/2011 4:57:34 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: neverdem
"U.K. Quakes Likely Caused by Fracking"

Those Brits should watch their language. ;-)


27 posted on 11/02/2011 5:02:18 PM PDT by familyop ("Wanna cigarette? You're never too young to start." --Deacon, "Waterworld")
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To: Lucky9teen

The left is opposed to frackking for oil and gas as it would make the USA reserves as big as the Saudis. The left hates what America is, a shining city on a hill, blessed by God, and will say or do anything to bring us down to a third world malfunctioning state.


28 posted on 11/02/2011 5:04:43 PM PDT by RicocheT (Eat the rich only if you're certain it's your last meal)
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To: MeganC; bbernard; Cicero; Cobra64; cripplecreek; Da Coyote; denydenydeny; econjack; familyop; ...

>>Fracking is the new global warming for some of these leftist mutts.

That’s probably true; the enviro-nazi’s will grasp onto anything, especially if they can use it to halt oil and gas exploration.

HOWEVER, even if they’re right, and the exploration did CAUSE the quake(s), the oil company should be REWARDED for relieving the earth’s pent-up pressure early, before it did even greater damage naturally on its own.

If it can be proven that fracking causes the earth to release its natural tectonic pressure, we should be doing MUCH MORE of it, not LESS as the enviro-nazi’s would insist.

(Then, quakes would be more often, but smaller, and less damaging)


29 posted on 11/02/2011 5:15:50 PM PDT by Future Useless Eater (Chicago politics = corrupted capitalism = takeover by COMMUNity-ISM)
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To: Future Useless Eater

I actually thought about that myself.

If the quakes aren’t damaging, who cares?


30 posted on 11/02/2011 5:18:26 PM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a permanent Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: neverdem
"This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes."



31 posted on 11/02/2011 5:39:53 PM PDT by yup2394871293
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To: cripplecreek
1.5 and 2.3 quakes occur when an 18 wheeler goes up my street.

We've fracked over a million times in this country we should be shaking like a bowel of jello by now.

Fracking takes place at depths 6 to 10 thousand feet some deeper some shallower. Earthquakes take place at depths of 70 KM to 700 KM. How heated water would help cause an earthquake at that bid a difference in depth would be miraculous.

32 posted on 11/02/2011 5:54:30 PM PDT by Recon Dad ("The most important rule in a gunfight is: Always win and cheat if necessary.")
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To: neverdem

If by a miracle, the Pubs regain both houses of Congress and the WH, they ought to undo as many green pieces of baloney as possible and go drill full speed ahead to lower our energy prices, make jobs, and make the nation strong again.


33 posted on 11/02/2011 6:09:34 PM PDT by phillyfanatic
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To: neverdem

If by a miracle, the Pubs regain both houses of Congress and the WH, they ought to undo as many green pieces of baloney as possible and go drill full speed ahead to lower our energy prices, make jobs, and make the nation strong again.


34 posted on 11/02/2011 6:09:48 PM PDT by phillyfanatic
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To: neverdem

Anyone taking good science courses in high school or college will immediately recognize this as nonsense. The article did not give the depth of the earthquake, but if if was more than 5 miles deep, then it would be impossible to be caused by the fracking. If it was 5 miles or less deep, then it probably wasn’t an earthquake at all.


35 posted on 11/02/2011 6:17:43 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (There's a pill for just about everything ... except stupid!)
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To: RetiredTexasVet
Anyone taking good science courses in high school or college will immediately recognize this as nonsense.

Anyone that reads a lot of scientific papers about seismology will instantly recognize this is perfectly plausible.

Small quakes caused by fluid injection have lone been documented and understood.

36 posted on 11/02/2011 7:15:07 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: neverdem

1.5 mag quake, AKA somebody dropped a coffee cup.


37 posted on 11/02/2011 7:48:45 PM PDT by noblejones (Obama rules!)
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To: Future Useless Eater

Good point!


38 posted on 11/02/2011 7:52:36 PM PDT by econjack
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To: listenhillary

Seems to me this technology should be mandatory in known quake areas. Why not immunize an area against “big ones” by fracking a bunch of little ones under (somewhat) controlled conditions. ——— A whole new “green” industry that makes energy at the same time! Halibuton is gonna have a field day setting up franchises.
The U.K. is gonna be ticked they let this slip out.


39 posted on 11/02/2011 8:13:24 PM PDT by bossmechanic (If all else fails, hit it with a hammer)
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To: Future Useless Eater
If it can be proven that fracking causes the earth to release its natural tectonic pressure, we should be doing MUCH MORE of it, not LESS as the enviro-nazi’s would insist.

I remember back in the early 80s an instance of water injection associated with oil drilling causing small quakes. At that time I made the same conclusion as you, that if there was any way to lubricate the San Andreas fault, particularly if we learned to trigger the quake with an impulse (such as an underground nuke), then we should invest heavily in developing the technology. It would mean that we could batten down the hatches, stock up, locate everybody safely, and let it rip. It would be a huge boon to damage control efforts and would significantly reduce the risk to life and limb.

In 1985 I proposed it to the geology professor at Harvey Mudd College, as he had affiliates at CalTech who might take interest in such an idea. He thought it was crazy as nobody would want the liability for the operation. "Acts of God" that operate randomly and potentially kill thousands of people in precarious situations are so much more preferable you know. So I dropped it.

I hate what lawyers have done to this country.

40 posted on 11/02/2011 9:36:32 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: Red_Devil 232

Obama too.


41 posted on 11/03/2011 12:33:56 AM PDT by exnavy (May the Lord bless and keep our troops.)
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To: bbernard

UK?.

You mean one UK university.


42 posted on 11/03/2011 12:48:36 AM PDT by the scotsman (I)
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To: Cobra64

OMG...OMG...OMG....I LOOOOOVVVEEE THAT!


43 posted on 11/03/2011 8:47:53 AM PDT by goodnesswins (My Kid/Grandkids are NOT your ATM, liberals! (Sarah Palin))
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To: Smokin' Joe

Ping


44 posted on 11/03/2011 5:56:54 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Strategerist
Anyone that reads a lot of scientific papers about seismology will instantly recognize this is perfectly plausible. Small quakes caused by fluid injection have lone been documented and understood.

You are correct. Fluid injection, especially along a fault, can cause pent up seismic energy to be released, usually in the form of small earthquakes (because of the localized nature of the slippage along a fault). There is going to be some minor seismic activity when you frac, just from fracturing the rock, and geophones have been used to track the progress of frac fluid in a formation by monitoring those micro quakes.

Instead of making lemonade out of that lemon and mastering the use of fluid injection to cause the controlled release of energy along known seismic faults, first in little populated areas, and later in more critical ones, the greenies want us to stop prodding 'Gaia'.

In the meantime, the use of fracking generally causes little to no disturbance at the surface that is noticeable without instrumentation, and has opened the door to energy resources otherwise not available--if the Government doesn't slam the door shut.

45 posted on 11/03/2011 8:43:30 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: listenhillary

“The lubricants make the pushing smoother. “

Careful. This is supposed to be a family friendly site.


46 posted on 11/03/2011 8:49:39 PM PDT by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping, neverdem!


47 posted on 11/03/2011 8:56:40 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: neverdem

The party of science....muh hah hah aha lol


48 posted on 11/05/2011 9:20:30 AM PDT by dila813
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