Friday, March 07, 2014

Study points to hydraulic fracturing waste injection wells as reason for rise in Oklahoma earthquakes

An increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma has been blamed by some on injection wells used to dispose of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, while others have criticized that theory. Either way, Oklahoma ranked second in earthquakes in 2013 with 99. A paper published this week, by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, Cornell University and Columbia University, points the finger at fracking. On Thursday, USGS "said that the magnitude-5.7 earthquake that rocked Oklahoma in 2011 was the largest ever attributed to the injection of waste from oil and gas drilling," Mike Soraghan reports for EnergyWire

The USGS release had a qualifier: "If this hypothesis is correct, the M5.7 earthquake would be the largest and most powerful earthquake ever associated with wastewater injection." The agency "had previously noted a 'remarkable' increase in earthquakes in the middle of the United States, most likely linked to disposal of waste fluid from oil and gas production," Soraghan writes. "Central Oklahoma, USGS says, is in the midst of an injection-related earthquake 'swarm.'" (Read more)

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