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Over the last decade or so, our think tank has often discussed the issue of man-made Earthquakes. We’ve talked about use of tremors as a “force multiplier” for national defense, and the way in which we go after our resources in the ground is causing a few minor Earthquakes here and there. Interestingly enough, this has been in the news recently in the US and in England. In England a study noted a link between “Fracking” – a technique used to exploit oil and gas resources and Earthquakes.
No, this isn’t news to any geologist, especially one who works in the mining industry or oil and gas sector. Still, it is something that sure makes the citizens feel uneasy – to know that the processes for getting to these resources is making the ground underneath their feet less that stable at times. Indeed, you can certainly understand how that could mess with one’s mind. Now, I live in California, and we are used to Earthquakes here, but that doesn’t change the racing of one’s heart when an Earthquake comes along.
An article recently in Energy Daily Online News on November 15, 2011 titled; “US Government Confirms Link Between Earthquakes and Hydraulic Fracturing,” by John C.K. Daly suggests that there may be links to injection well, “Fracking” and Earthquakes. In fact, there have been previous US Engineers and Geologists questioning the use of fracking-type techniques in the past, which seems to have been kept quiet as to not spook the public.
Remember the big Earthquake in Oklahoma recently, or the series of Earthquakes in Arkansas earlier in the year? Well, the article above stated that;
“In 1990, the “Earthquake Hazard Associated with Deep Well Injection–A Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” study of RMA events by Craig Nicholson, and R.I. Wesson stated simply, “Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.”
The article has cited two other studies also:
1. Environmental Protection Agency’s July 2001 87 page study, “Technical Program Overview: Underground Injection Control Regulations EPA 816-r-02-025.”
2. Austin Holland’s August 2011 report, “Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma” Oklahoma Geological Survey OF1-2011.
Generally speaking, oil and gas geologists are wise enough to back-off if there is a chance they might cause an Earthquake, but, that doesn’t mean those in other nations will feel the same way. After all, most major first world nations are involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas, and there is a big profit motivation, and economic reality to it all. Human civilizations do need these fossil fuels in the present period. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this.
write by Kieran