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Researchers Say Texas' New Earthquakes Could Be Fracking-Caused


by: Ben Sherman

Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 00:00 PM CST


Between 2009 and 2010, the Cleburne area of North Texas experienced more than 50 earthquakes. They occurred in the Fort Worth Basin, which had never experienced an earthquake before. And not only do they appear to be here to stay, but they're increasing in frequency. Last month alone, North Texas was hit with 20 earthquakes.

A report from SMU geology researchers in October offers a possible explanation, and it sounds a lot like "cracking". "Because there were no known previous earthquakes, and the located events were close to the two injection wells and near the injection depth, the possibility exists that earthquakes may be related to fluid injection," the report states.

That fluid injection is fracking, a practice that has boomed across the country in the last eight years. It is the act of injecting high-speeds of water into the earth to split up the rock and release low-quality oil. It has been increasingly necessary in an oil-based energy system on a post-peak-oil planet. The wastewater injections that go along with fracking operations have been confirmed as possible earthquake triggers by the U.S. Geological Survey. SMU held a press conference about the report two months after its release because of the 20 November earthquakes North Texas experienced.

Read more below the jump.

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Texas is not isolated in experiencing these possible effects of fracking. The process' wastewater disposal were linked to the 2011 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio that totaled 109. If Keystone XL is built, its use will be expanded and become the cornerstone of North American oil production.

Texans and other Americans in fracking areas shouldn't count on the current situation staying the same. "This provides a foundation for understanding earthquakes in the Central and Eastern U.S. in a broader context," Brian Stump, chairman of Geological Sciences at SMU, said. "These are very small earthquakes -- barely large enough to be felt. The only concern is will they become larger, and that's a question I can't answer."  

The news organization KERA visited Azle, which felt the earthquakes. "They say it ain't what happens, but till then, we didn't have it," Azle resident Fred Raub told KERA. "You gotta drill about every mile. You just start looking around at all the drills they're putting down."

Watch KERA's report here:

(H/T ThinkProgress)



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do you even (0.00 / 0)
read this stuff before you write? The study is entirely inconclusive and wasn't even about the recent earthquakes. Related =/ caused. And did you read what you wrote after you wrote it? - can you please explain what the noun "high-speeds" are and how do you inject these "high-speeds"  into the ground?

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