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Earth Politics

USGS Suggests Connection Between Seismic Activity and Fracking 145

Posted by timothy
from the pumping-is-fun dept.
First time accepted submitter samazon writes "According to a recently proposed abstract by the United States Geological Survey, hydraulic fracturing, or more specifically the disposal of fracking wastewater, may be directly correlated to the increase in seismic activity in the midwest. Results of the paper will be presented on April 18th, but the language of the abstract seems to imply that there is a connection. After years of controversy regarding hydrofracking including ground water contamination and disclosure of chemical solutions, the results of the study, if conclusive, could influence the cost of natural gas due to increased regulations on wastewater disposal." The actual language of the abstract leaves a fair amount of wiggle room: "While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production."
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USGS Suggests Connection Between Seismic Activity and Fracking

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  • by estitabarnak (654060) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:02AM (#39604815)

    No, for a number of reasons. Even if smaller quakes simply "relieved stress," preventing larger quakes, the Richter scale is logarithmic so it'd take many small quakes to prevent a large one. USGS agrees: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/megaqk_facts_fantasy.php [usgs.gov]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @02:22AM (#39605003)

    Absurd maybe, but true. I have first hand knowledge i'm afraid. i live right on the west coast of the UK, and this time last year, about 10 miles down south of my house they were fracking (and they plan to again) within 2 days a seismic event occurred, measured at the University about 6 miles inland. IT HAPPENED HERE and no words spoken, typed or any intellectual arguments entered into change the recorded facts.
    Many thousands of local inhabitants would strongly disagree about the safety of fracking,Just because you dont see it on the news doesn't mean its not happening. Unfortunately, peoples need for power sources continues unabated, and is unstoppable, indeed it is increasing, and thus the planet is now in turmoil, thousands, maybe millions dead, as certain global interests go and selfishly plunder resources from other countries, This is Global Imperialism. You may not like it, or accept it,it may not fit in your world view, I certainly dont like it, but that doesn't alter the facts i have mentioned. Perhaps if your house shook while the cartels were busy fracking, you may think differently..
    message ends
    /

  • by M1FCJ (586251) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:12AM (#39605111)

    Dream on. The fracking is expensive, not cheap. The only reason it's done is the cheap oil is gone, no more. You've run out of it and you still haven't cut your demand down.

    The gas price difference is mainly due to we pay tax on it, you don't.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:46AM (#39605199)
    If it's going on a very long way below where the groundwater is then that is a LOT of protective rock instead of the idea of a wafer thin and fragile layer of protective rock.
    Hopefully since it's far easier to do horizontal and other directional drilling than it used to be we'll be able to put the fracking discussion in the past anyway.
  • by BlueTak (1218450) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @04:59AM (#39605401)
    Hi, I'm posting from the soviet republic of France, guided by the Great and Beloved Leader Nicolas Sarkozy, friend of your former socialist président George Bush. Here, we are fighting against fracking for a couple of years. Of course, we rely on brave american activists for our information, cause your still ahead of us in terms of pollution and destructing environment, but it's even better when scientists bring their share.
  • Re:Oh Great. (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:39AM (#39605545)

    Hey, they fracked in Oklahoma, the room shook under my ass in Kansas. They fracked again in Oklahoma, the room shook again and a picture came off the wall. It took me about two damned seconds to reach 100% conclusion. It's the fucking fracking. Din't spend a dime on research either. I think a phone call woulda took care of it, but hey if we gotta feed vagrants, I guess we gotta feed professors who take their sweet damn time writing a carefully worded,spell checked paper full of information WE ALREADY HAD AT GROUND ZERO at hour zero. Timely? Useful? New info? Beneficial to anyone who didn't get paid? Dumbasses....hmph...

  • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @08:19AM (#39606019)

    Hydraulic fracturing being invented in 1940s is like saying that hybrid cars were invented back in 1769 with the invention of the first automobile.

    What hydraulic fracturing being performed today is a variant that was first tested back in 1991, horizontal drilling. Those prior studied were concerned with fracturing processes that were drilling straight down. Not down then a 90 degree turn for as far as a 15-3000m meters depending on the region. The ends are a set length, the farther down they go the less than go horizontal.

    Secondly, the abstract wasn't directly talking about hydraulic fracturing directly, just a way they are using to dispose of their waste, injection wells. So you might be right even if you weren't talking about the wrong type of hydraulic fracturing. Ohio currently suspended parts of the shale industry after they noticed an uptick in quakes linked to injections wells.

    So the good news is, for the industry and those supporting the natural gas industry, it is the waste disposal method that seems to be causing the problem, not the production itself.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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