Friday, March 09, 2012

Small earthquakes 'almost certainly' caused by drilling wastewater injection, Ohio officials say

Backing up a geologist's opinion, Ohio state regulators said Friday that a dozen small earthquakes in the northeastern part of the state were "almost certainly" caused by the injection of natural-gas drilling wastewater into the earth, Julie Smith of The Associated Press reports. The regulators also announced "a series of tough new rules for drillers," including submission of more comprehensive geological data when requesting a drill site, and electronically tracking the chemical makeup of all drilling wastewater.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the earthquakes in the Youngstown area were based on "a number of coincidental circumstances:" The drilling began three months before the first quakes, seismic activity was clustered around the well bore, and a fault has since been identified in the deepest, oldest bedrock where water was being injected." Geologists believe it is very difficult for all conditions to be met to induce seismic events," the report states. "In fact, all the evidence indicates that properly located ... injection wells will not cause earthquakes."

Experts told Smith earthquakes have long been linked to energy exploration and production. "They point to recent earthquakes in the magnitude 3 and 4 range -- not big enough to cause much damage, but big enough to be felt -- in Arkansas, Texas, California, England, Germany and Switzerland" as being linked to wastewater injection, Smith reports. Improper placement of the Youngstown well stemmed from inadequate geological data, which official should be fixed in the future by the new regulations. (Read more)

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1 comment:

Patrick Seil said...

These so-called experts are expert in fearmongering, only. We've been fracking and injecting in southern Illinois for decades with no substantial seismic activity on any sort of consistent basis, and we reside in a fault-ridden zone.