Update: Fracking causes earthquakes (with video)

A couple of weeks ago I looked at the relationship between wastewater injection wells associated with hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes and concluded that not only is there overwhelming scientific evidence of a relationship, but man-made earthquakes related to fracking have been increasing rapidly as fracking has increased. The post featured a video interview with Dr. Elizabeth Cochran, co-author of a study that showed the relationship between injection wells and earthquakes in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma earthquakes graph

Oklahoma earthquake activity has increased over 1000 times since 2009 (click to enlarge)

Earthquake activity in Oklahoma due to fracking increased over a thousandfold between 2009 and 2013, as shown in the graph at left. But that’s not the end of the story. Now, in 2014, earthquake activity has spiked again over 2013 levels. In fact, in the last seven days, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, there have been 173 earthquakes in Oklahoma — over one an hour. If you extrapolate that over a year, that’s nearly 9,000 earthquakes! (Note that if you count, your numbers may not match mine because the site charts real time data for the last seven days.

Officials are being careful not to say

Map of Oklahoma injection wells (click to enlarge)

Map of Oklahoma injection wells (click to enlarge)

definitively that this new spike in earthquakes is related to oil and gas activity, but, since we’ve already established the relationship between injection wells and earthquakes in Oklahoma, and the number of earthquakes tracks exactly with the doubling of oil production in Oklahoma from 2010 to 2013, and since the state is full of the type of injection wells that have been associated with earthquakes (see map at right), it’s pretty safe to say that   2 + 2 = 4.

According to Dr. Austin Holland, a seismologist for the Oklahoma Geological Survey, it’s also possible we’ve reached a “geological tipping point” which has set off this spate of quakes. Who knows where it will lead?

If you’re imagining what it might be like to experience a minor earthquake in Red Lodge every hour, think beyond the sensation of getting a regular shake to the experience of cracking in your walls and home foundation, and to the loud “BOOM” that accompanies each quake. This news report gives a feel for what it’s like to experience regular quakes.

One more
This came across my desk after I wrote the above. Two central Arkansas families have filed suit against Chesapeake Oil and Billiton Petroleum for causing “thousands of earthquakes” that damaged homes and caused the state’s largest earthquake in the last 35 years. The earthquakes were charted on the map at left. For more, follow the link.

Arkansas earthquakes

Map of “thousands” of earthquakes allegedly caused by two Arkansas drilling companes

Fracking by Chesapeake oil and Billiton Petroleum caused “thousands of earthquakes” that damaged homes and caused the state’s largest earthquake in the past 35 years, two Central Arkansas families claim in court.

And last, here’s a nice clear and short explanation of why injection wells cause earthquakes. Recommended for the non-technical. The language is cautious, but the meaning is clear: when we increase drilling using modern technology, we cause earthquakes.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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6 Responses to Update: Fracking causes earthquakes (with video)

  1. Arleen Boyd says:

    As always nice job. The last paragraph ended abruptly with a colon I think was followed by something I cannot see.

    Thank you,

    Arleen

    From: Preserve the Beartooth Front Reply-To: Preserve the Beartooth Front Date: Thursday, February 20, 2014 7:02 AM To: Arleen Boyd Subject: [New post] Update: Fracking causes earthquakes (with video)

    WordPress.com davidjkatz posted: “A couple of weeks ago I looked at the relationship between wastewater injection wells associated with hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes and concluded that not only is there overwhelming scientific evidence of a relationship, but man-made earthquakes re”

  2. Pingback: Who booms and who busts when drilling expands along the Beartooth front? | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  3. Paul Van Tricht says:

    What about putting a webcam focus on the ECA well. That way all of us could see what ECA is actually doing in real time on the internet. If ECA screws up we would have them on video. What would be needed is a site for the webcam from neighboring property. Anyone know the neighbors to the ECA well.
    Paul

  4. Pingback: Article in The Local Rag uses half-truths, lies and plain stupidity to promote oil drilling | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  5. Pingback: Milestone: Preserve the Beartooth Front passes 100,000 hits | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  6. Pingback: US Geological Survey documents earthquakes caused by injection wells, and a new map of the Yellowstone caldera | Preserve the Beartooth Front

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