New Report Ties Fracking to Rise in Earthquakes

Joe Romm reports on a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) paper that ties the unprecedented rise in earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 and greater across a broad swath of the country to man-made sources.
April 9, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The USGS report, to be delivered next week at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America, is the latest in a growing body of documentation tying the unusual increase in earthquakes in locales across the country to the processes associated with oil and gas drilling by hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

According to Romm, "Some quakes may be caused by the original fracking - that is, by injecting a fluid mixture into the earth to release natural gas (or oil). More appear to be caused by reinjecting the resulting brine deep underground."

While the USGS paper stops short of conclusively tying the seismic activity to a specific fracking process, the journal EnergyWire, which has previewed the paper's findings, points out, "all of the potential causes they explore in the paper relate to drilling, or more specifically, deep underground injection of drilling waste."

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