WASHINGTON — Evidence is growing that fracking for oil and gas is causing earthquakes that shake the heartland.
States such as Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Ohio are being hit by earthquakes that appear linked to oil and gas activity. While the quakes are far more often tied to disposal of drilling waste, scientists also increasingly have started pointing to the fracking process itself.
"Certainly I think there may be more of this that has gone on than we previously recognized," Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland told colleagues last week.
In addition to what Holland has seen in Oklahoma, a new study in the journal Seismological Research Letters concludes that fracking caused a series of earthquakes in Ohio a year ago. That follows reports of fracking leading to earthquakes in Canada and across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom.
Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is when massive amounts of high-pressure water with chemicals is pumped underground to break shale rock and release the oil and natural gas inside.
The process is responsible for the nation's energy boom since 2008, as it has allowed access to oil and gas trapped in the shale. But at the same time, earthquakes have spiked in the central and eastern United States.
Before 2008 Oklahoma averaged just one earthquake greater than magnitude 3.0 a year. So far this year there have been 430 of them, Holland said.
Scientists have linked earthquakes in Oklahoma to drilling waste injection. Shale drilling produces large amounts of wastewater, which then is often pumped deep underground as a way to dispose of it without contaminating fresh water. Injection raises the underground pressure and can effectively lubricate fault lines, weakening them and causing earthquakes, according to the U.S Geological Survey.
Tornadoes and Earthquakes, The best of both worlds.
Now all they need is some volcanoes.
Should have thrown some left over Hurricanes in there to help
their "Exceptional Drought" their having, Damn Where is H.A.R.R.P. when you need it.