Friday, January 23, 2015

Kansas official links surge in earthquakes to disposal of saltwater from fracking practices

For the first time a Kansas official has said that disposal of saltwater from hydraulic fracturing could be to blame for a recent increase in earthquakes in the south-central part of the state, Karen Dillon reports for the Lawrence Journal-World. Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told Dillon, “We can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes."

Kansas, which didn't have a single reported earthquake in 2012, had 120 last year, Dillon writes. Neighboring Oklahoma led the lower 48 states in earthquakes last year with 564, after averaging three earthquakes of magnitude 3 or higher per year from 1975 to 2008. (Kansas Geological Survey graphic: In January there has been nine earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or higher and four of 3.0 or higher)
"In other states with a surge in earthquakes, including Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, scientific studies and government officials concluded more than a year ago that the temblors were likely the result of injecting saltwater into disposal wells," Dillon writes. "But in Kansas, experts have said they were unsure what was causing the earthquakes."

But Rex Buchanan, director of the Kansas Geological Survey, said that many people wrongly believe fracking causes earthquakes, Dillon said. Buchanan said he does not consider disposing of the leftover saltwater to be part of fracking. He told Dillon, "That distinction is tough for some people, and some people see it as semantic distinction. I like to be technically precise about what is going on here. If someone were to say these earthquakes were caused by fracking, there might be one or two, but there is no evidence for it. The issue of saltwater disposal is completely different.” (Read more)

No comments: