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View Diary: Large 2011 Oklahoma quake quite possibly tied to wastewater injection (36 comments)

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  •  Mea Culpa (16+ / 0-)

    Somewhere in the past, I negatively responded to a fracking causes earthquakes post.  I checked the two linked diaries, and it wasn't in those...but I know I did it.

    So, I may well have been wrong, and even if this study turns out to be wrong, it is clearly not a stupid idea that fracking and similar practices cause earthquakes.

    So, to any that I may have been pissy to about this, sorry.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:55:28 PM PDT

    •  it was probably the one after the Virginia quake (6+ / 0-)

      that person is still wrong, in that case. :)

      •  Perhaps (8+ / 0-)

        But if this study is right, my reasoning was wrong.

        Basically I didn't think injection had enough energy to cause an earthquake.  I thought of injection as analogous to putting a thumbtack in a wall...it ain't gonna cause the roof to collapse.

        If this study is right, its more like putting a thumbtack in a balloon...that is the surface is already in tension, so a small energy input can cause a massive tectonic shift.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:04:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's something like that. (6+ / 0-)

          almost all injection quakes are under 6 (actually, I'd say all) so the amount of rock that moves is not very much. What they do is release already accumulated strain. Would the Wilzetta have moved? Maybe. But perhaps not for many tens to hundreds of years.

          It's a problem that can indeed be avoided. there are hundreds of thousands of injection wells nationwide. These swarms are not common, still. Yet. Energy companies are getting lazier and greedier in their assessments and that's my opinion. The Wilzetta Fault is at the surface. Other faults can still be seen in subsurface geophysical data.

          At the very least Oklahoma can do, even as an experiment, cease injection. If this study is indeed true, the quakes will taper off and then stop.

          As for their liability, it really varies by state to state but basically, don't expect any of them to pay out. I'll have to dig that legal study up but this is the only oneI'm really aware of that's looked into this (from 1994---so you can see this is not a new problem.)

          •  Just thinking (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder, Ginny in CO, kurt, figbash

            This might be the product of pressure (as in my example), but could also be the product of increased lubrication.  That is, the injected liquids could lubricate the faults (a bit) and make it easier for the accumulated strain to result in the initial movement.

            Just a thought.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:22:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  On the bottom of the first page of MJ article, (7+ / 0-)

              just below the very cool animated gif that really clarifies the whole sequence...

              Cliff Frohlich, associate director of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas-Austin:

              There are faults most everywhere. Most of them are stuck, because rock on rock is pretty sticky. But if you pump a fluid in there to reduce the friction, they can slip."
              Especially when it is a lot of fluid over long periods.

              That is a very good article. Bill McKibben even left a compliment in the comments.

              I think Gov Frackenlooper needs to be asked if he has read the Geology article. He will probably delay as much as all the industry people that didn't want to talk to the MJ author.

              I gather Cheney is mostly in VA. Any chance his property is near wells and faults? WY or VA.

              Also, too, in terry's 11/11/11 diary

              I like proof. Good old fashioned peer-reviewed Proof. It's sexy.
              YES!  And that hand drawing is better than anything I saw in the Picasso Museum in Japan. (My sister and I agreed we had refrigerator art that was as good or better.) Unlike science, art is a matter of personal taste. ;)

              "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

              by Ginny in CO on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 02:14:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It is not about putting more engery into area (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfromga, Empty Vessel, figbash

          It is about lubricants being injected into rock strata where it does not belong. That allows the release of energy store in the rocks as tense. That release is in the form of earthquakes.

      •  18 years of injections? (0+ / 0-)

        That can add up. And I'd expect that injections have been going on longer than 18 years in OK. In any case, I appear to have been wrong about Oklahoma.

        But not Virginia.

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