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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Did fracking cause the East Coast quake?

At first blush, the "fracking" theory of the East Coast quake seems nuts. But this piece is written to a fairly high standard, and the tone is level-headed. I'm not saying that the theory is correct; I'm saying that this idea seems worth investigating.
I think it's really hard to deny there's a connection when the frequency of Arkansas earthquakes dropped by two-thirds when the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission banned fracking...
Of course, correlation is not causation -- that is, not necessarily causation.

A personal note about the quake. Living on the west coast, I always had the possibility of an earthquake whispering in the back of my mind: "Wouldn't want to be in that building during a quake..." "Wouldn't want to be under that bridge during a quake..." "Wouldn't want to be in one of the Bonaventure's elevators during a quake..." And so on. It wasn't a fear. (I rather enjoy earthquakes, actually.) It was just a thought. Always there, everywhere I went.

After moving east, those whispers remained in my head for the first couple of months: "The McHenry tunnel is amazing, but I wouldn't want to be there during a quake..." That was the instinctive first thought. Then came the second thought: We don't get earthquakes out here.

Eventually, the second thought conquered the first, and I forgot about earthquakes altogether, for the first time since 1971.

And, that first thought is back, fluttering and scuttling in the back of my mind. Everywhere I go.
There was something years ago about injecting fluids into faults as an attempt to have a series of mini-quakes instead of one large one. Don't know where it went.

As to fracking being the cause, all it takes is a couple of Superbowl tickets to any PA politic an to shoot that theory down. There have been wells and at least one pond contaminated with Methane gas near drilling pads in PA but gosh darn it, Governor Tom Corbett's EPA doesn't know whats causing it.
If I were you I'd be more worried about Irene.

Stay High and Dry!

Oh, and stock up on ice, water, and food.
Joseph, there are hundreds of frac wells here in Arkansas, the two wells in the article are disposal wells. These are used to dispose of the frac fluid when it's no longer usable in the fraccing process.

From the HuffPo piece:
"The two injection wells at issue dispose of "frack" water when it can no longer be re-used by injecting it into the ground."

And the quakes have decreased to normal levels since then. But the fracking is still ongoing.
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