Friday, August 22, 2014

20 Earthquakes Plague Oklahoma in One Day

Fracking, the process of hydraulic mining for shale gas and oil and injecting waste water back into the ground, has no adverse effect on the environment according to people like the Koch Bros. Look briefly at this chart:

The dramatic increase in seismic activity coincides with extensive fracking operations that have spread across the state. Twenty small earth tremors registered on Tuesday, an unprecedented event. Although most all of them were to small to do any substantial damage at the surface--below Magnitude 3--one of the quakes was a 4.3 near Guthrie, population 10,000. It was a tremor big enough to rattle china and crack walls. Oklahoma is seismically active, but the Oklahoma Geology Survey said the rate of increase in earthquakes far exceeds any documented cases of induced seismicity. The state has experienced 2500 tremors in the past five years, and nearly all of them can be linked to oil and gas operations. The process of wastewater injection is thought to alter stresses on exiting fault lines to the point of failure, causing earthquakes. The evidence is not conclusive since information about sub-surface pressures in the affected areas is rarely available. Scientists who attended the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America agreed that fracking operations can produce earth tremors. Despite multiple research reports finding a link between fracking, injection and tremors, the industry refuses to accept the data. The Texas Railroad Commission, widely considered a captive regulator, refused to listen to residents of Azle, Texas when they asked for a halt to using nearby injection wells after it experienced 30 small quakes in three months. Sharp increases in seismic activity has also occurred in Ohio, Arkansas,  and Kansas where fracking operations are increasing. Induced tremors tend to be small in magnitude, but scientist warn that as the amount of waste water injected near faults increases over time and spreads, it could destabilize a larger fault leading to a larger seismic events