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View Diary: Fracking does cause earthquakes (62 comments)

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  •  A 4.1 is not a large earthquake (3+ / 0-)

    To give you perspective, if you're quite near the epicenter, it feels a lot like a sonic boom or something like that - a quick, small jolt.

    (Even on the map you show, it has shaking intensity; the highest rating is light/no damage.)

    Earthquakes in the 5+ range are where you start to see minor damage to vulnerable structures.

    Arkansas is an area where there is known seismicity, just not frequent seismicity.

    Typically a large earthquake happens because of enormous stresses in the crust as plates are moving relative to each other. Injecting water could certainly ease the friction and cause the fault to break in a particular place or sooner, but it is not known to create the enormous energy required for a truly damaging earthquake, which comes from a pre-stressed crust.

    There is question about how big these localized water-created earthquakes could be - and the answer seems to be bigger than we thought - and you can possibly imagine particular arrangements where injecting water could amplify stress.

    Now, none of this is to defend fracking in particular, or to say that we should do it willy-nilly and find out. The potential for contaminating our water supply is IMHO especially chilling. It's just part of my mission to help people better understand earthquakes, and to keep our arguments defensible and grounded.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:15:49 PM PDT

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