Skip to comments.Can Fracking Cause Earthquakes? [Oy vey...]
Posted on 11/14/2011 6:06:05 PM PST by The Pack Knight
A sharp increase in Oklahoma's seismic activity has many wondering if underground drilling is responsible.
On Nov. 5, a 5.6-magnitude tremor rattled Oklahoma one of the strongest to ever hit the state. Oklahoma is typically seismically stable with about 50 small quakes a year. But in 2009, that number jumped up to more than 1,000. Some people say the increasingly common use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking the controversial practice of blasting underground rock formations with high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to extract natural gas may have put stress on fault lines. Can human activity really cause the earth to move? Here, a brief guide:
So humans can cause earthquakes?
It has happened before. One "textbook case" occurred in 1967 in India, says Peter Fairley at IEEE Spectrum, when the reservoir behind the hydroelectric Koyna Dam was filled up. The added water "unleashed a magnitude 6.3 quake" by placing stress "on a previously unknown fault, killing 180 people and leaving thousands homeless."
Why do people think fracking is to blame in this case?
While it's not hard to imagine that injecting liquids underground at high pressure might somehow be related to seismic activity, there is actually "some evidence that fracking may induce minor tremors," says Bryan Walsh at TIME. In January, a flurry of about 50 "very small" quakes with magnitudes between 1.0 and 2.8 may have been the direct result of fracking, he says, citing a report from the Oklahoma State Geological Survey.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
If this were true that would be a good thing. Relieve the stress before it builds up to dangerous levels.
I'm certainly NOT a seismologist, but isn't an earthquake a RELEASE of pressure on a fault? And if that pressure is not released, doesn't it build up until there is a major earthquake? Isn't a series of small earthquakes “better” than a large one followed by aftershocks?
If I'm on the right track here, fracking could actually be used to prevent major earthquakes by releasing fault pressure gradually.
OK, seismos. Where am I wrong?
You got it right. I remember reading a number of years ago that this was being studied on the San Andreas fault to see if they could set off a series of small earthquakes and avoid the big ones.
But 5.6 is pretty big, and probably totally natural and not related to the fracking.
From what I understand there isn’t any fracking going on anywhere near that fault line.
Maybe the windmills cause earthquakes.
They had their trucks out front yesterday sending whatever down through the earth. felt the whole house tremble each time. Neat.
Wasn’t there a James Bond movie about that? Grace Slick?
As Howard, Raj, Sheldon, and Leonard have all muttered at one point or another: “What the Frack?!”
Tried that line once years ago. Not in relation to earthquakes, tho.
IMO fracking does not cause earthquakes. But earthquakes do cause serious neck and back aches - from the stress and strain of trying to kiss your butt goodby! I'm 20-odd miles from the epicenter of the 5.6, and was pretty sure I was being called home. Scary!
Tried that line once years ago.
Not now. But there's no doubt been a lot of fracking in that area over the past sixty years.
There are several played out oilfields in the area. And fracking has been a common practice in Texas and Oklahoma oilfields since the fifties.
The only reason people think fracking is a "new thing" is that it's now done in association with horizontal drilling. But it's the "horizontal" that's new -- not the fracking.
How can any logical person believe there is a relationship? Please, educate yourself or we are all destine to enter another Dark Age of superstitions and charlatans.
Perhaps I should have been more clear that I was ridiculing, not endorsing, the positions in that article.
So, where do they have to “frack” in order to make California and the Eastern seaboard fall into the oceans?
Here, here, to true American Energy Independence, brought about through free enterprise and capitalism!