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Can you believe this?  I just heard about it this morning, and it has been going on
since 2009 with over 700 earthquakes in the last 6 months .  Things that make you hmmmmmmm....

“Several small earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 1.8 to 3.8 have rattled the north-central Arkansas cities of Greenbrier and Guy this week, and the cause is unknown,” the Associated Press wrote yesterday.

More earthquakes struck last night, “including a preliminary magnitude 4.0 quake in central Arkansas and a 3.2 magnitude tremor in the eastern part of the state,” KY3 reports. A dozen more earthquakes have struck today, the biggest of which was a magnitude 4.3.

Over 700 earthquakes have occurred in this region in the last six months, a few dozen or more this week.


Arkansas earthquakes related to fracking? (& Mass Bird & Fish Deaths?)

A major source of natural gas in Arkansas is the Fayetteville Shale, an organically-rich rock formation in north-central Arkansas. Drillers free up the gas by using hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" – injecting pressurized water to create fractures deep in the ground.

Ausbrooks said geologists don't believe the production wells are the problem, but rather the injection wells that are used to dispose of "frack" water when it can no longer be re-used. The wastewater is pressurized and injected into the ground.

Guy Earthquake Swarm: Arkansas Mystery Quakes May Be Result Of 'Fracking' Disposal

I had no idea that they were fracking in Arkansas....

Although the 4.7 quake is stronger than anything felt in the region recently, the latest quakes only compound on a series of mysterious tremors that have been plaguing Central Arkansas since 2009 with unusual frequency. The AP reports that more than 700 quakes have occurred in the area over the past 6 months. The Arkansas Geological Survey has classified the prior phenomena as part of what is now called the Guy earthquake swarm.

Scott Ausbrooks, geohazards supervisor for the Arkansas Geological Survey, told the AP that geologists believe the seismic activity is either a naturally occurring swarm, or could be related to natural gas exploration in the region. According to Ausbrooks, geologists don't believe production wells are the problem, but haven't ruled out injection wells that dispose of "fracking" wastewater as a culprit. The earthquakes have been occurring near several injection wells.

4.7 Earthquake In Arkansas Followed By 2 More (VIDEO)

I can't believe they can keep doing this regardless of the dangers to people and the
environment.... it's just another of the gazillions of things that really piss me off....

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fracking unreal all the fracking going on! (5+ / 0-)

    Is it weird in here or is it just me?- Steven Wright

    by nannyboz on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:54:54 AM PST

  •  Probably not... (5+ / 0-)

    Earthquakes generally start VERY deep in the earth, not anywhere near where we muck about. And although most people don't think of the Arkansas area as an earthquake zone, it is...just not as blatantly so as California. In fact the Mississippi basin has been the scene of one of the largest earthquakes in US history.

    From what I have read this kind of situation is not that uncommon for the area. Fracking is a problem for MANY reasons and should be fought. But earthquakes are not one of the issues as far as I can tell.

    (And for the record, my wife has studied earth sciences, though her specialty is atmospheric science). I will check with her to see if she has additional insights).

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

    by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:57:48 AM PST

    •  according to the information in the articles (5+ / 0-)

      and from the Geological service, they think they are related to the fracking or the injection well.  I am no expert, but it seems plausible.  Let me know what you find out.

      It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

      by Statusquomustgo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:05:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I seriously doubt it...but... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Statusquomustgo, Amber6541

        I am no expert either, though I have a pretty passable knowledge of most sciences. The energy involved in seismic activity is beyond most of what human activity can achieve, as far as I am aware. If we applied a substantial percentage of the world's nuclear arsenal at one critical point I could believe we could trigger an earthquake. But otherwise I am highly skeptical.

        But again, I am asking my wife's opinion. It isn't exactly her specialty but she did study earth sciences and works with people who would know. I will pass on what she says.

        My reasons for doubt are not because I think humans can't cause major changes to the earth. Global warming is a prime example. Ozone hole another. But the depths below the surface involved and the amount of energy involved strike me as beyond our influence short of planting a big chunk of the earth's nuclear arsenal in the deepest possible mineshaft as close as possible to an already shaky fault line.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

        by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:11:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I appreciate your feedback and the time you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333, Amber6541

          took to read the diary... It's important enough for me to
          pay closer attention to this since I live in Missouri.

          It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

          by Statusquomustgo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:14:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My wife's comment... (3+ / 0-)

            My wife's comment was basically to agree with what I said but to also say she may not know enough. I do know she has taken actual intense geology classes, so she definitely has some know how on it, but isn't confident enough in that knowledge to go beyond my comments that by and large the depth and energy levels of earthquakes are beyond what humans can easily influence.

            That said, it seems like others are citing cases of human influenced earthquakes, though at the low end. I'd need to see better citations to be sure, but it sounds like low end earthquake activity could be triggered by some human activity. And the emphasis made in some of those comments is "triggered" rather than "caused." In other words maybe human activity can push an already delicate zone over if conditions are just right but they won't cause earthquake activity where it isn't already getting ready to happen.

            So, deep drilling in areas already getting close to seismic activity could cause a quake, though probably not a severe one. But the basic tendency to quakes is already there.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

            by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:57:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was shallow (11+ / 0-)

              And at an unknown fault:

              The 4.7 Earthquake was felt as far as Memphis, Tennessee. The quake was just two miles down, a shallow quake and likely contributed for it to be felt over a wide area of the Ozarks.

              The fault it struck on is unknown at this time.

              The state has place a moratorium on fracking because of the earthquake concern and the damage to the aquifer.

              •  Memphis. (8+ / 0-)

                I thought I read that. Aren't we getting pretty near the New Madrid Fault?

                It shook my house 10 miles south of the Missouri border. I hope they're inspecting the 60-year-old hydropower dam four miles up-river from me. It holds back bejillions of acres of water, and there are five more dams on the White River of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

                Two miles down is certainly within hydrofracking range, and the fault it struck is unknown. Hmmm. Perhaps because it isn't a "fault" in the classic sense of the word?

                Ghastly.

                •  Fault and fracture are pretty much... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cotterperson, myboo

                  ...interchangeable.

                  The Fayetteville Shale (Which I'm assuming is their target given Arkansas, just a guess) is around 6500 ft deep, but the actual injection layer could be deeper (or shallower)

                •  wow, you are close... (0+ / 0-)

                  this really is an important issue, good luck.  I will keep my
                  eye on the situation, I live in Kansas City and love
                  the area down there in southern Missouri and Northern
                  Arkansas it's beautiful.  It would be a real crime for them
                  to destroy it out of greed.

                  It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

                  by Statusquomustgo on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 06:07:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Okay... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                myboo, Statusquomustgo, OldDragon

                Damage to aquifers seems far more established to me.

                The quake connection...well I am listening. Two miles is deep for human activity but shallow for seismic activity...so...does it fit the interaction level? I don't think so but don't consider myself expert enough to know if human activity in this kind of situation reaches that far.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:09:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here is the bibliography I posted (6+ / 0-)

                  in a comment below, describing the '60s-70s earthquake swarm believed to be caused by wastewater injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. You may find useful data here, as many of these sources are technical in nature, as opposed to having been written for mass media/popular consumption: http://www.nyx.net/...

                  •  Working on it... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Statusquomustgo

                    My wife and I have found a couple of papers but have limited time (at work) to analyze. So far the data I am reading from the papers suggests the quakes that can be triggered are TINY (1 and below...NOT 4+), but I need to make sure I am understanding what I am reading before I say anything definite.

                    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                    by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:22:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  2.9 to 7+ @ wiki (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Statusquomustgo

                      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                      by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:24:47 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

                        Not seeing that much in the scientific literature...but working on it. The key paper that the wiki you refer to (sorry, but when it comes to science wiki isn't good enough for me) gives for anything higher is this paper:

                        http://www.bssaonline.org/...

                        This is the abstract:

                        Abstract

                        Episodes of increased seismic moment release around the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field (CPGF) show a significant correlation with three large increases of sustained fluid extraction, with delays of about 1 yr. Increased seismic activity involves three large strike-slip earthquakes: Imperial Valley (ML = 6.6, 15 October 1979) and Victoria (ML = 6.1, 9 June 1980), which occurred after a production increase in 1979, and Cerro Prieto (ML = 5.4, 7 February 1987), which occurred after another production increase in 1986.

                        The probabilities of the observed correlation between production increase and increased seismic activity occurring by chance (for binomial or Poisson seismicity distributions) are rather small, although their significance is not very large due to the small number of data. High probability of triggering by fluid extraction at times of high probability of earthquake occurrence from tectonic loading suggests a possible connection between production and occurrence of ML greater double equals 5.4 earthquakes near CPGF.

                        The strong earthquakes occurred at distances from CPGF within ranges over which induced seismicity has been observed for other engineering activities worldwide. Seismic diffusivity, calculated from their hypocentral distances and delay times from production increases, are in good agreement with values estimated worldwide for reservoirs, and estimated pressure changes at the earthquake sites, induced by production in CPGF, can be large enough for triggering.

                        The observed time correlation, plus supporting statistical and spatio-temporal observations, although not conclusive, suggest the possibility of large tectonic earthquake triggering by extraction activity at the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field. This possibility should be considered for estimation of seismic hazard and earthquake prediction in the Mexicali-Imperial Valley region.

                        They properly note that although they observe some interesting correlations nothing conclusive can be determined. Which in no way negates your point, merely says that the evidence is to date thin. Based on ONE study which is itself, by its own honest admission, not conclusive. The study is good but only suggestive to date.

                        The other studies I have seen show far more conclusive correlations but with far, far lower magnitude quakes.

                        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                        by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:38:50 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Everything I looked at suggested (0+ / 0-)

                          In cases of fluid injection dont expect more than 1.2  magnitude.

                          But, they are able to detect which quakes are injection induced. Apparently the quake clusters propagate differently.

                          http://www.agu.org/...

                          And of course permeability plays an issue too.

                          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                          by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:54:10 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  and the 1.2 mag was the same number (0+ / 0-)

                            that you had mentioned earlier. Maybe from the same Doc?

                            IInjection-induced earthquakes and crustal stress at 9 km depth at the KTB deep drilling site, Germany

                            Mark D. Zoback
                            Department of Geophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, California Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

                            http://www.agu.org/...

                            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                            by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 03:04:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Which is why I noted the citations @ wiki (0+ / 0-)

                          dont get all pompous on me pal, I know just a teency bit about what a good citation is.

                          but when it comes to science wiki isn't good enough for me)

                          Why do you think I mentioned the citations @ wiki in the first place? I saw quality there, and so do you, so we agree at that point.

                          Quit the hand waving and get real. Do you want to discuss the science here, or do you want to claim authority and superior personhood?

                          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                          by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 03:01:15 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Scuse me dude... (0+ / 0-)

                            But that is what I have been doing, looking at the science . Don't get pompous on me because I know a hell of a lot about what a good citation is because that is my day to day job. So when I say I am working on the literature, THAT is what I am doing. Not just a list from wiki but what the scientists are looking at. And that led me to this review:

                            http://adsabs.harvard.edu/...

                            And if you want the main thing that I am trying to clarify it is this particular line (which I have yet to be sure I am personally clear on):

                            Because of their small size, induced microearthquakes must be monitored using borehole instruments. In the studies presented here, the larger induced events approach a magnitude of +1, while most events fall in the magnitude -4 to -2 range, varying somewhat with experiment. Large shear waves and the presence of both compressional and dilatational first arrivals indicate that most induced events have dominantly shear-slip mechanisms.

                            So don't tell me to "get real" because science is what I do. The review I cite seems pretty damned applicable and it seems to imply small quakes only, but I have yet to confirm that the scale is what I am used to. But it if it is then it seems pretty small of an impact, if you ask me.

                            But as I said...this isn't my field so it takes me some time to wade through it. So if you want to wade through it with me, be my guest.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                            by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 06:56:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  If the liquids lubricate (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mole333

                  a fault that is under stress........

                  FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                  by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:55:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  The geology of the southeast (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cotterperson

                is quite different from California. In California, our ground is so broken up and fractured that earthquake energy cannot travel far without interruption. In the southeast, earthquake waves can propagate much much further for the same amount of energy.

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

                by elfling on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:46:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Believe it or not, a geothermal power (7+ / 0-)

          company just got in trouble for triggering earthquakes by building a plant in an area that was off limits because it was geologically unsafe to build it there so it is possible.  Of course, in such cases it is more accurate to say that the activity triggered the earthquake rather than caused it.  Think of it like a large boulder balanced on a ledge, it doesn't take that much force to tip it over even though it would be impossible to move that much weight if it were just sitting on the ground.

          •  I'd need to see the data (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cotterperson

            I really feel skeptical that this can happen (and my wife agreed with my view...but NEITHER of us are seismologists, though she took some pretty hard core geology classes), but then again if the fault system was already close to going, and then someone drilled deep enough with an intrusive enough activity (I focused on input of energy, but I suppose injection of something that reduces friction at the fault could also do it) something could happen sooner rather than later.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

            by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:00:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It can happen, and it is pretty well documented (8+ / 0-)

              here in the Denver area, where the Rocky Mountain Arsenal's wastewater injection processes would seem to have kicked off a nice little earthquake swarm in the 60s and 70s. To probe further, check out http://www.nyx.net/... ...

              •  Interesting... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cotterperson

                I don't mean to be obstreperous but in my field '60's and '70's papers usually require more recent analysis...but I do realize that may not be the case in the field in question. Interesting citations. And it does help me. But...wish there was a more recent analysis of the phenomenon.

                Not trying to dismiss it...just judging the science as best I can using the same criteria I do when I review a paper in my own field. But this isn't my own field so that process may not work as well as I would like.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:16:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Just a thought, (4+ / 0-)

              maybe you and your wife don't know as much as the scientists who study the issue. You seem certain, but I haven't seen any authority from you except your wife's experience in the classroom. I'm assuming she isn't a seismologist, hydrologist or geologist, otherwise, you would have mentioned it.

              •  No (0+ / 0-)

                I have been clear that neither of us are certain. Have been clear on that all along. We are scientists and do read a wide range of papers routinely. My wife has taken pretty hard core geology classes and works with many earth scientists (she is in a NASA/Columbia program). But no, as I have made clear, we are not experts nor are we certain. Consider us very educated lay persons in this particular field. Looking at the literature that has been cited I remain unconvinced, but by no means certain. It is clearly an interesting area of research and I would love to see how that research connects human activity to the depths and energies that earthquakes occur. But don't assume my skepticism means I deny the possibility of a link. I just am not yet fully convinced.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:59:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The need for energy input has you confused (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PeterHug, lostinamerica

                  faults are already pre stressed.

                  FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                  by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:05:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Understood (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roger Fox

                    That is clear...in my household even my 6 year old son gets that level of physics (I am not kidding!) and yet that does not mean human activity can trigger...

                    Give me a chance. My wife and I have found a couple of key papers but both of us are at work so aren't able to focus on it yet. I see some papers making connections but from what I have read so far the quakes are TINY (1 or LESS). But need to confirm I am understanding what I am reading)

                    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                    by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:19:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  But similarly (0+ / 0-)

                    because they could go at any time +/- 100 years, it makes it very very challenging to say that a particular human event was a significant factor.

                    Indeed, if we could release stress in faults by lubricating them and then getting an earthquake to occur in some predictable fashion, when everyone was properly evacuated, ideally in small bits rather than large ones, we would probably consider doing that.

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

                    by elfling on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:56:23 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Actually they can discern (0+ / 0-)

                      between injection induced quakes and not.

                      We could distinguish between the induced and noninduced earthquakes from the analysis. The induced earthquakes forming each cluster migrated with speeds of 20–80 m/h, which means microscale water migration or permeation.

                      http://www.agu.org/...

                      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                      by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 03:12:03 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Or have focused on areas so deeply (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cotterperson

                That something outside of their realm of study requires an equally long period of study.

                FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:23:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks to others... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roger Fox

                Thanks to my wife and Roger Fox and my own digging I think I have found the data by now. As I said yesterday I judge based on the data and I indicated I was looking through the literature. And Roger Fox, a couple of gratuitous digs and non-scientific links aside, was helpful in that.

                Ultimately I think this looks like a key paper to me in terms of convincing me of the link:

                http://www.springerlink.com/...

                Next time someone expresses skepticism rather than question their ability to judge the science quote them that paper. It may help.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                by mole333 on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 05:34:15 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Liquids that lubricate faults..... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PeterHug, cotterperson, lostinamerica

              drop the input of energy idea. If a fault is already under stress, as most are, otherwise they wouldnt be faults........... would they.....

              By shear definition faults are PRE stressed... so theres your established energy level ... they are already loaded with potential energy.

              The idea here is.... what can convert that potential energy to kinetic energy?

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:02:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Take a look at the wiki article (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cotterperson, Roger Fox

              and the refs therein...

              Induced seismicity

              •  And note the quality of the citations @ wiki (0+ / 0-)

                I have no clue why mole333 fails to wrap their brian around the concept. A fault has potential energy, and all that needs to happen is to convert potential to kinetic, there are numerous ways to trigger that.

                FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:13:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Dude (0+ / 0-)

                  I am a scientist. So is my wife. We work with solid data, not wiki articles or possible connections.

                  Now my wife and I have pinpointed a couple of key scientific articles from scientific journals and are looking at what they tell us. What I have seen so far is that human activity has been linked to TINY quakes (below magnitude 1) but I have to confirm I am reading the data correctly.

                  You are misinterpreting my skepticism. I am judging this issue precisely how I would judge someone presenting data to me in my own field. So I need to judge the data as close as I can to the raw values.

                  FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                  by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:31:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "I am a scientist", enough with the hand waving (0+ / 0-)

                    I believe you.

                    DO you have an issue with the citations found at the wiki link?

                    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                    by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:11:09 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "hand waving" (0+ / 0-)

                      No...no hand waving. Just looking at the data. Have you read the citations? Or the wider literature? I have only just started. Have you? That is why I have been saying I am working on it. Because I am looking at the literature. Last I checked that was kind of the opposite of hand waving. It is called looking at the data before committing in any definitive way.

                      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                      by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 07:05:23 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Fracture Analysis Services (0+ / 0-)

                        http://www.cggveritas.com/...

                        http://www.vsfusion.com/

                        http://www.rigzone.com/...

                        You've only commented on one link I dropped, you have not commented on the links to more substantial work. Since I dropped those links over 5 hours ago I hoping I am not misinterpreting your behavior as avoiding my due diligence effort.

                        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                        by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:09:01 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Seems we are on the same page by now (0+ / 0-)

                          These links you mention are of less interest to me than the review I cited last night...but as far as I can tell it is all "microquakes" that they are talking about so are we in any disagreement about that part?

                          As far as I can tell we aren't really saying anything different from each other. The microquakes are something we both have been referring to, so not sure why these links are still relavent. It was only the larger magnitude quakes that I remained skeptical of. And there is that one paper we discussed yesterday that suggested larger quakes can be triggered but admitted that the data was not conclusive.

                          However this looks like the key article:

                          http://www.springerlink.com/...

                          Which I think brings all the threads together because it breaks it down into specific mechanisms.

                          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                          by mole333 on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 05:26:58 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I dropped those links for you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mole333

                            more for background detail and cool factor. IIRC Baker Hughes is working in Ark.

                            One thing I find interesting was that in this thread there is a link that talks about "temporal and spatial" similarities, going by memory right now, that the Injection site was close by, and was being used for injection prior to the recent quakes.

                            There are 2 wells within 2-3 miles of the recent epicenter, but overall the epicenter was on the southern border of the area of shale that has wells.

                            Looking at epicenters from the last week/10 days of quakes shows that they all are occurring in nearly the same region:

                            2011/02/21  04:27:56    35.26N    92.35W    5    2.7   
                            2011/02/21  16:21:58    35.25N    92.38W    6    2.6
                            2011/02/20  15:15:00    35.26N    92.37W    5    3.6
                            2011/02/19  23:04:58    35.21N    92.36W    5    3.5
                            2011/02/18  12:18:24    35.26N    92.36W    3    3.2

                            http://neic.usgs.gov/...

                            3-6km deep, much larger than would be expected from injection induced quakes. But mostly within a mile or 2 of each other. East of Rt 25, near junctions with 285 and 225. See these maps:

                            http://neic.usgs.gov/...
                            http://neic.usgs.gov/...

                            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                            by Roger Fox on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 10:52:39 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  @ wiki (0+ / 0-)

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:25:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Thousands of gallons (7+ / 0-)

          of water at high pressure, mixed with chemicals to help fracture the rock, and sand to keep the fractures open? For an extended period of time in a cluster of locations? Five, six, seven miles down -- and then horizontal?

          Ask her about that.

          Or check out ProPublica's reporting, which is excellent as always. They are more focused on the poisoning of our water than the earthquakes, but I think you'd find it interesting.

    •  Unlikely, but.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, mole333, marina, Roger Fox

      As mole333 said, most earthquake activity originates quite deep in the Earth.

      However, small tremors have been known to occur when fluid was injected into a fault zone. Water and drilling fluis can serve to lubricate the fault, allowing movement to occur.

      Back around 1990, the USGS did a trial at Paradox Valley, CO in which they were able to induce numerous small seismic events through deep injection of fluid.

      To make this happen, they were injecting brine under pressure at depths up to 4km. The first two parts of this are just what you get with fracking (brine and fluid under pressure), but I can't imagine that the wells they've been drilling were that deep.

      •  I could see it...sort of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        My wife agreed with my assessment but felt even she was short on knowledge despite taking some hard core geology classes. I find it unexpected that human activity could be in the range of what could trigger an earthquake, on the other hand I could see how if an area was already poised that way and we applied either enough energy (my original thought) or enough of a lubricating liquid (which is what you are bringing up) deep enough into an already unstable zone, I could see how it could push it over the edge.

        Would love to see some citations on this kind of phenomenon. Not being a seismologist I am merely taking educated guesses, but would like to see some of the literature.

        I do remember my mother (an anthropologist, so not an expert) always was convinced the construction of a large reservoir near Los Angeles had triggered an earthquake, but I was never convinced.

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        by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:09:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are (5+ / 0-)

        five injection wells clustered near the epicenter, and this quake was only a couple of miles deep -- prime hydrofracking territory -- and then horizontally! With the water under pressure are chemicals to help fracture the rocks and sand to keep the fractures open.

        I'm grateful for the information and will google for more. I'm extra jittery from having the quake rock my house last night, but it's a nationwide problem because shale is being exploited all over the country.

        Now they're fracking for oil :( .

    •  You might want to check out (8+ / 0-)

      the references, then, for this statement at earthworks:

      Induced seismicity, or earthquakes caused by human activities, can be caused by development of hydrocarbon, mineral, and geothermal resources, waste injection, water filling large surface reservoirs, underground nuclear explosions and large-scale construction projects.[1]

      Scientists have documented direct connections between earthquakes and both oil and gas extraction and waste-water injection.

      Moreover, several studies demonstrate that hydraulic fracturing induces microearthquakes and that the analysis of these microearthquakes can be useful in understanding fracture zones and reservoir production rates.[2]

      There are five injection wells in the area near the epienter of the earthquake last night. They often have 20 a day. There have been earthquake swarms nearby in the past, but

      researchers with the Arkansas Geological Survey say that while there is no discernible link between earthquakes and gas production, there is “strong temporal and spatial” evidence for a relationship between these quakes and the injection wells.

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      •  Okay... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        Glancing at the Earthworks stuff I remain unconvinced. Which does NOT mean I am convinced the analysis is wrong. Simply that I am finding the data thinner than I prefer in my own field when I judge papers. Now the BIG caveat is that I am not a seismologist, so my judgment of what is convincing vs what is on the way to convincing vs what is not convincing may be close to adequate, but I AM a scientist so I feel I have some good sense as to how to judge data. Part of the issue for me is I am not as able to judge the journals where the papers cited in the Earthworks site are published as I am in my own field. I assume these journals are specialist journals but they are not top ones in science (which I'd be familiar with) or in the general (but maybe not specific) field (based on my wife's knowledge) so it is hard for me to judge them.

        What remains an issue is the depth and energy issue. So data to date may suggest a correlation, but it is not clear to me how the human activity reaches either the depth or energy required for earthquake activity. But as I observe elsewhere, some commenters suggest that in areas where earthquake activity is already a given, some human activity can reach the depth and energy (or lubrication) levels to trigger (not cause) earthquake activity, particularly at lower levels.

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        by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:05:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333, kurt, lostinamerica

          The data are thin. Though people have used water in mining for generations, the process being used today is comparatively new. Good science takes time, the frackers are protected by the Halliburton exemption in the Clean Water Act. (Why did Cheney want that?) We don't know if or when there will be sufficient data.

          We also don't know all of the lubricants that are being used. They have been considered proprietary, though recently the EPA has required that they be divulged in some cases.

          Statistically, you determine the level and direction of risk you're willing to tolerate, in part based on the consequences, right? It seems to me if we don't have the information to determine the risks to humans, we should err on the side of safety.

          This graphic at ProPublica shows drilling ~7,000 feet deep.]

          I enjoy your thoughtful comments, thanks.

        •  Fact 1, faults are prestressed by definition? (0+ / 0-)

          Correct?

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:08:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well yes but... (0+ / 0-)

            I have emphasized that elsewhere in this discussion. But that in no way means we are able to tip it. Something I am still judging as I try to read the papers (while responding to comments, doing work and soon leaving to pick up my son...will be taking a break from this  but coming back)

            The scale for earthquakes seems orders of magnitude above what we can apply. So even if prestressed, if what we can apply is merely 1/1000 of what it takes to cause an earthquake, it won't make a difference.

            Now as this discussion continues I am reading the actual literature. Or at least key articles. And so far I am seeing clear evidence for human impact causing quakes below what anyone would feel (below magnitude 1 though I am still trying to confirm I am reading this data correctly). ONE article argues for correlations with MUCH higher magnitude quakes but admits nothing they show is conclusive. I would say it is suggestive but nothing more. The only conclusive data so far is a correlation between human activity and extremely small quakes.

            Now I have lived in earthquake zones. The effect of a tiny to small quake is not clear. It can relieve stress or, more likely, add stress. Yet the occurrence of a 5+ magnitude quake often in no way presages the occurrence of anything larger. So if hydrofracking only causes microquakes around magnitude 1 (still working on whether I believe this) then the chances of triggering anything larger strikes me as minimal. This is not how earthquakes behave in California, at least. Other places...well maybe there is still room for doubt and I am willing to doubt my current analysis, though it is an informed analysis.

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            by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:53:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  quakes were near wells (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, lostinamerica

        and quakes occurred during or soon after injection.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 03:15:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is actually a known phenomenon (4+ / 0-)

      Injection of fluids into the ground for disposal, which is what's happening here (not the fracking itself), can  induce earthquakes. There's a real correlation there.

      See Denver in the 60s at the Rocky Mtn. Flats, a swarm in Ashtabula, OH, and a recent swarm at Dallas/Fort Worth Int'l Airport (there's a paper in the most recent Bulletan of Seismological Association on it ,was most interesting.) There's also a suggestion that a recent series that's been rattling Oklahoma too may be due to the oil/gas industry, and other swarms elsewhere where mining/drilling is occuring.

      Essentially the injection itself probably won't cause a quake (or swarm of quakes) most of the time, but if the disposal well interescts with a fault, then the fluid can act as a lubricant. In the central and eastern US, most faults are buried, and remain unknown.

      Check out DKos Pennsylvania!

      by terrypinder on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:07:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to an article I read on the news blog on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Statusquomustgo

    CNN this morning, a geologist said these quakes are the result of a previously unknown fault.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:59:58 AM PST

  •  Not up to date, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Statusquomustgo

    In terms of geological time it is pretty close...goes up to 1969 and gives a sense of the normal seismic activity in the Arkansas area:

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/...

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    by mole333 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:02:56 AM PST

  •  Very interesting hypothesis. (4+ / 0-)

    I would like to add an eKos tag for your work.

    I hope there is follow up on this story.

  •  I only have (4+ / 0-)

    a laypersons knowledge of geology, but I find the history of the New Madrid seismic zone to be absolutely fascinating.

    Here's some good reading:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Our promises are made in proportion to our hopes, but kept in proportion to our fears.-LaRouchefoucauld

    by luvsathoroughbred on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:23:32 AM PST

  •  What group of Fracking Greedy Idiots OKed (7+ / 0-)

    Fracking and Water Injection anywhere remotely near The New Madrid Earthquake Zone.Oh an PS there is a region of Hot Springs in Arkansas so there is Magma closer to the surface there that in most places on Earth,now maybe it's from a fading and cooling Source of old magma but if idiots start to crack the crust who know what might happen..

  •  Earthquakes are by their nature (4+ / 0-)

    not inclined to be regular. They cluster, and then disappear, for decades at a time. The most regular, predictable fault in geology is at Parkfield, California, expected every 24 years or so. The last interval was 40 years.

    I've lived in California all my life. Since the 1994 Northridge earthquake, California has been relatively quiet seismically. And then one day we'll have another big earthquake and no one will be surprised.

    The southeast US has significant earthquake potential - note the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, which included some very large earthquakes in northeastern Arkansas.

    It is possible that small earthquakes are related to fracking. Certainly all kinds of human activity can cause earthquakes in the 1-2 magnitude range. It is not thought, at the moment, that fracking can create large earthquakes, in part because fracking is too close to the surface - but it is not well understood. Other kinds of related situations, involving deep injection of contaminated fluids, may be more of a concern.

    It is unlikely that even if fracking is causing earthquakes to happen sooner than they might otherwise, that it is causing earthquakes that would otherwise never occur.

     

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

    by elfling on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:34:04 AM PST

  •  I doubt there's a real question. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, marina, Statusquomustgo

    I mean, as to whether the quakes are due to fault lubrication via the disposal wells. I'm certain the geologists and seismologists will form a firm (if not unanimous) consensus.

    I'll go with whatever they think.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:36:50 AM PST

  •  It's the New Madrid Earthquake Bi-Centennial. (0+ / 0-)

    They had some nasty ones here, before fracking.   I'd rather have a bunch of small ones than another one like the Big One:

    http://newmadridearthquake.com/...

    If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate de-resolution. That will be all.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:28:16 AM PST

  •  we had similar quakes in the DFW area that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, marina, OldDragon

    were said to have been linked to oil and gas operations.

    see: http://www.star-telegram.com/...

    There have been larger problems like sinkholes outside of Houston.  Im convinced (but have zero evidence)
    that oil and gas exploration is related to both sinkholes and earthquakes.

    If you go around busting up the solid rock beneath you and then extracting and injecting things that may not belong, is it any wonder that something somehwere is going to shift in ways that we dont like?

  •  Low-level earthquakes are not that uncommon (3+ / 0-)

    ...with injection disposal wells of any kind, although the cause isn't well explained in many areas.

    They had the same issue with test injections for geothermal power, although as far as I know, the earthquakes are too weak to cause any damage.

    4 is getting into the range where you could possibly see slight damage, however...

  •  Txsharon is the regent (queen?) of fracking (4+ / 0-)

    She (and her site) have as much or more informationabout the procedure, the resultant water quality degradation, probably about the small, shallow quakes we here in North Texas have experienced.  She's been at this for 3-1/2 years, or more.

    I believe the site is "bluedaze"

    (#  - rustle, rummage...)

    HERE!

    http://txsharon.blogspot.com/

    Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:37:56 PM PST

  •  I think its fair to say (3+ / 0-)

    The connection between oil and gas extraction and earthquakes goes back as far as 1920.

    http://www.springerlink.com/...

    More recent papers all agree that in less than 20 days after fluid injection earthquakes occur, even the ability to separate fluid induced earthquakes from naturally occurring quakes was demonstrated.

    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/...

    http://www.agu.org/...

    http://www.agu.org/...

    http://www.agu.org/...

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:02:47 PM PST

    •  What a treasure-trove (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Statusquomustgo

      you've presented us! Now I'll see if I'm capable of reading those papers ;)

      Thank you, Roger.

      •  Mostly abstracts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        But the ones I cited all support injection induced quakes.

        With correlative cases going back to the 1920's where oil and gas extraction is concerned.

        Heres a one pager from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

        http://esd.lbl.gov/...

        Claiming that Human induced earthquakes go back to the 1930's, and that Hyrdofracting does indeed cause quakes.

        I think in this arena (D Kos) good citations are important. I also very rarely claim  an academic background. In this particular case I have offered citations from numerous academic experts to support the claim that fracting causes small quakes. Exactly as Mole333 has said.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:31:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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