Skip to main content

A study by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey just published by the Seismological Society of America has determined that a series of earthquakes, from Alabama to the Rocky Mountains, have been caused by oil and natural gas drilling.

Via the Environmental Working Group's report on the matter:

According to the study led by USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth, the spike in earthquakes since 2001 near oil and gas extraction operations is “almost certainly man-made.” The research team cites underground injection of drilling wastewater as a possible cause.
The study conducted by USGS researchers, which will be presented next week in San Diego, appears to confirm that the staggering rise in seismic activity in the U.S. in recent years can be attributed to drilling activities.

The rise in numbers are, in and of themselves, remarkable (as well as frightening):

The study found that the frequency of earthquakes started rising in 2001 across a broad swath of the country between Alabama and Montana. In 2009, there were 50 earthquakes greater than magnitude-3.0, the abstract states, then 87 quakes in 2010. The 134 earthquakes in the zone last year is a sixfold increase over 20th century levels.
-----------------------------------
Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG
-----------------------------------

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Another Branch of Science Takes Itself Out of the (23+ / 0-)

    adult conversation and goes to hang out with hippie extremists.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:00:44 PM PDT

    •  EWG mangled the story. USGS didn't say (8+ / 0-)

      what EWG said they did.

      Hydrofracturing did not cause the quakes. The USGS never claimed fracking did that. USGS observed a large upturn in the number of quakes. Apparently it is caused by deep well injection of large quantities of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

      Secondary sources can really fuck up science reporting.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:16:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for correcting. After reading the actual (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PreciousLittle

        abstract and report, I've amended the title and removed sections on fracking. While this is indeed still troubling, the fracking element should remain distinct.

        EWG is a solid organization -- but they messed this up a bit by injecting (ha!) fracking into a story they had originally gotten correct.

        I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

        by David Harris Gershon on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 06:00:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A report in "Ohio Geology 2001 #3 " (4+ / 0-)

          linked injection wells with excess fluid injection. All this excess fluid primarily comes  from modern slick water drilling (fracking) that has to be disposed of somewhere because it is full of toxic chemicals both added by the drillers and dangerous chemicals released from the rocks formations. This problem continues to be denied and covered up. The power of the oil and gas money in America literally knows no limits.

          I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box.

          by OHdog on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:50:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Correct (2+ / 0-)

            Another 3.0+ Quake in Oklahoma

            View Quakes here, notice they occur where there are fracking injection wells

            http://www.ceri.memphis.edu/...

            History of drilling animated map.  Notice huge uptick in Gas drilling in OK and Alabama

            Oklahoma's Fracking related Earthquakes

            Recent Arkansas Frack Happenings

            Speaking Frack and Loss of Human Rights

            You have to drop in and see the pics in the last link above.

            The USA is turning into swiss cheese.

            It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

            by War on Error on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 11:18:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, and the fracking quakes in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PreciousLittle

              It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

              by War on Error on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 11:20:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Colorado (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PreciousLittle

                It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                by War on Error on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 11:45:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ohio Govt: Fracking Wastewater Wells Caused Quakes (0+ / 0-)

                  This news release from Ohio Department of Natural Resources is highly informative and it has links to full reports: Ohio's New Rules for Brine Disposal Among Nation's Toughest/ODNR Releases Preliminary Report on Youngstown Area Seismic Activity. Excerpt:

                  Ohio’s oil and gas regulators today announced new environmentally responsible standards for transporting and disposing of brine, a by-product of oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing...The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) developed the new regulations after researching the link between a series of seismic events in the Youngstown area and a brine disposal well.

                  The new safeguards: prohibit any new wells to be drilled into the Precambrian basement rock formation; mandate operators submit extensive geological data before drilling; and implement state-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring devices including automatic shut-off switches and electronic data recorders. In addition, ODNR will require that brine haulers install electronic transponders to ensure “cradle to grave” monitoring of all shipments...

                  Geologists believe induced seismic activity is extremely rare, but it can occur with the confluence of a series of specific circumstances. After investigating all available geological formation and well activity data, ODNR regulators and geologists found a number of co-occurring circumstances strongly indicating the Youngstown area earthquakes were induced. Specifically, evidence gathered by state officials suggests fluid from the Northstar 1 disposal well intersected an unmapped fault in a near-failure state of stress causing movement along that fault.

                  This MSNBC report, from March 9, 2012, is also worth citing, Fracking Waste Led to Earthquakes, Ohio Says in Adding New Rules:
                  Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves freeing the gas by injecting water into the earth. The water used in that process then needs to be disposed of. But, since municipal water treatment plants aren't designed to remove some of the contaminants found in the wastewater, drillers typically re-inject it into the ground. A dozen earthquakes that struck Ohio in 2011 appear to have been induced by the workings of such a wastewater well, the state Department of Natural Resources said Friday, as it announced new rules for the disposal of a fracking byproduct because of its apparent link to the tremors.

                  The Youngstown, Ohio, area experienced the quakes – ranging from 2.1 to 4.0 magnitude – starting in March 2011. A 4.0 quake on Dec. 31 prompted Gov. John Kasich to order a moratorium that is still in place on six Class II deep injection wells.

                  Of course, this doesn't settle the debate as to whether fracking itself can also induce seismic activity. However, it does put another nail in the fracking coffin and that is a good thing.
  •  Ugh, please no. (23+ / 0-)
    Will it take a manmade earthquake ravaging a major U.S. city before severe regulations and restrictions are placed on the practice.
    Fracking is not capable of producing an earthquake of that magnitude.

    A 3.0 earthquake is 1/1000th as strong as a 6.0 and 1/10,000th as a 7.0 in terms of shaking amplitude.

    In terms of total energy released, multiply those numbers by 31.6--the energy release in a 3.0 is 1/31600 as much as in a 6.0.

    There is an extremely strong case to be made against fracking.  But it should be grounded in science.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:08:18 PM PDT

    •  That was a bad attempt at bombastic irony. (18+ / 0-)

      I think you've identified that I should remove it. :)

      I'm "THE" Troubadour," and not "Troubadour" without the article. We're different people here at DK :)

      by David Harris Gershon on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:12:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That accepted, 3.0 is enough to damage a (6+ / 0-)

      building and, given the lack of earthquake construction in most areas of the country, a building in shoddy condition could collapse, causing injury and death.

      Even without people being hurt, will a fracking company be held liable for repairs to a building damaged in an earthquake?  One would have to prove cause and effect, and there will be sky-high amounts of money defending a fracking company from liability, because if one would be found liable, the whole industry could fall apart, depending upon how widespread the damage gets in these various earthquakes.  Makes me consider buying earthquake insurance, though I think I'm probably on bedrock.

      •  No, a 3.0 is not enough to damage a building (9+ / 0-)

        constructed to any reasonable standard.

        A building that can be damaged by even a 3.0 directly underneath will be blown over by a stiff wind.

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

        by elfling on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:51:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, sockpuppet, Geekesque

          You have to go up much higher to damage a building

          5.0–5.9     Moderate     Can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At most slight damage to well-designed buildings.
          Richter magnitude scale

          In other words, your house should still be fine even in 5.0 to 5.9, however a crappy shed in your yard my not survive all that well.

          •  I've been inside a building built to code in CA (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            socalmonk, sockpuppet, pgm 01

            for a 3.1, and it was swaying.  Not much, but I could definitely see where an old building made of bricks in the midwest would be damaged.

            A major factor is also what is under the building.  If it's built on alluvial soil, like in a river's flood plain, that can help to damage the building.

            I hope I never get a chance to find out whether I'm right.

        •  adding, a 3.0 is about the smallest earthquake (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, sockpuppet, Geekesque

          humans can feel, and even then only if you're sitting somewhere quietly.

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

          by elfling on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:40:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There are innumerable home owners in NE Ohio with (0+ / 0-)

          cracked foundations from these "small" earthquakes. You are welcome to inspect  the basements and tell people to their face that they don't know what they are talking about.

          I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box.

          by OHdog on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:53:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Foundations crack because of (0+ / 0-)

            earth settling and other very ordinary non-earthquake phenomena every day all over the world. Water is a huge culprit. Unless you can document that there was no crack before the earthquake and a crack after, it's not earthquake related.

            If your single family home was damaged by a 3.0, it would be damaged by a person jumping up and down on the floor. It really is that small of an event.

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

            by elfling on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:00:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So all the wells that went dry after such events (0+ / 0-)

              were due to people jumping up and down on the dirt?

              I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box.

              by OHdog on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:06:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There are legit concerns for the water supply (0+ / 0-)

                Here's the deal: we're on the same team. I'm not a fan of fracking and I think it is being done with too little concern for potential consequences.

                However, there are plenty of factual and serious and science-supported reasons to cite before you get into wild speculation.

                Earthquakes are defined with a logarithmic scale in amplitude. A 3.0 is as unremarkable as a bit of rain. (I mean a bit of rain in Ohio, not in California, just so we're clear! ;-) )

                It takes 31 times more energy to get to a 4.0 earthquake and 961 times more energy to get to a 5.0. A 5.0 is about the minimal size for local damage to unreinforced masonry and unsecured mobile homes.

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

                by elfling on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 10:40:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The evidence for increased earthquakes... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee

      ..due to hydraulic pumping  was pretty much established in the late 60's.  The Rocky Mountain Arsenal, (the army's chemical weapons research  and production facility) northeast of Denver.  When it was decommissioned it was decided all of the contaminated liquids be diluted and pressure pumped into deep strata – during the time in which the pumping was going on Denver experienced over a 1000 quakes

      The city of my birth (soon  to be a shrine), Trinidad, Colorado- US Mecca for gender reassignment surgery – in the very hospital of my birth.
      On the day of the East coast quake the area of Trinidad also experienced a quake. A minor quake to be sure but troubling.  The area sits on top of the Raton Formation which is being fracked for methane gas.

      "if you don't make peaceful revolution possible, you make violent revolution inevitable." ….JFK. .......{- 8.25 / -5.64}

      by carver on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:09:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  except we had a 5 here in MD that they are (0+ / 0-)

      beginning to think may be related to fracking. they have had large ones in the UK as well from fracking. a 5.0 can damage buildings and it did damage buildings here in MD

      compassion for things i'll never know ~ david byrne

      by little lion on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:18:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But can fracking increase the magnitude (0+ / 0-)

      of an earthquake that would have occurred anyway?

      If it can, fatalities might result that would not have occurred without the fracking.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 08:45:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Current understanding would say (0+ / 0-)

        that they can't create that much additional energy.

        I think there needs to be careful study... and in general, there's not enough seismic knowledge in the less frequent zones. But for example geologists go around all the time setting off explosives underground to create small seismic waves to look for oil and gas. You never feel them. These small events are really really small.

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

        by elfling on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:07:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not a whole lot new here. (9+ / 0-)

    Correlation with deepwater injection is well known.  The paper doesn't seem to go any further than that correlation:

    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.
    It should be mentioned that with the exception of the Magnitude 5 earthquakes examined in Virginia and Oklahoma (which are still being argued, the Oklahoma earthquake seems unlikely to have been caused by oil and gas activity) these earthquakes are harmless.  Most of them are on the threshold of being detectable without instruments.
    •  Just went to the USGS site and was surprised (7+ / 0-)

      Since I live on top of a fault zone, I keep an eye on the California/Nevada "real time" seismic map that the USGS maintains on the Web, and have very occasionally checked out the national map they have up.  This diary impelled me to take a look, and I was surprised to see both a 3.0 and 4.0 quake in the past week -- apparently unconnected -- in Oklahoma!  In 15 years of watching, I don't think I've ever seen such a thing.

      While it seems true that the earthquakes caused by fracking are unlikely to become large enough to cause surface property damage, much less imperil lives, I do wonder at the damage being done below ground.  The chemicals, the alterations to the water table (of concern to many on the Plains) and the rest are obvious concerns.  But I wonder what the accumulation of new fracture zones will mean going forward, and in a place where more range wars have been fought over water than any other cause, I wonder at the simple volume of water that's being diverted to deep well injection rather than being available to agriculture and human consumption.

      Fracking is an ecological issue that I admit I've left to others to focus upon.  Since the Mid-West is "home," and I have family back there, now I'm beginning to think I should be paying closer attention!

      •  Fracking is not the primary cause. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, eztempo, marina, in the Trees, cany

        Deep disposal wells are used for water disposal in a wide variety of oil and gas fields, including those that don't utilize fracking.

        Deep disposal wells have been used for well over 50 years at this point, largely without incident.  They're are used precisely to avoid the issue of groundwater contamination, as there's thousand of feet of impermeable rock between the injection layer and any groundwater or shallow aquifers.

        I wonder at the simple volume of water that's being diverted to deep well injection rather than being available to agriculture and human consumption.
        It's worth considering, as it frequently involves taking potable fresh water and removing it from the water system.  Upcoming EPA fracking regulations may require water retreatment and/or reuse instead of allowing straight disposal.
        •  There are many slip faults that are found only (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo, PreciousLittle

          after the deep injection wells cause earthquakes and these same faults offer a way for toxic injection water to seep up under the injection pressures to contaminate overlying aquifers.

          I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box.

          by OHdog on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:57:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  the 3 and 4 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eztempo

        are aftershocks to last November's quake, and there seems to be some evidence it was possibly induced. Oklahoma's had a remarkable rise in earthquakes since 2008 or so, and I'm beginning to believe some of them are due to man-made activities.

        [insert pithy sigline here]

        by terrypinder on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 08:15:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We'll see about the Oklahoma quake (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, luckylizard

      I have heard some pretty interesting info on that one.

      It looks to me like it was induced.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:10:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First global warming, now this (10+ / 0-)

    I guess mankind can now credit itself with yet another accomplishment.  Earthquakes were the last form of natural disaster that seemed exclusively, well, natural.  Good to know we've now shown our ability to create them ourselves.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:12:05 PM PDT

    •  first ecosystem destruction (9+ / 0-)

      rainforest decimation, animal depopulation, over-irrigation and lake dessication...

      Global warming's just another link in a millennia old chain.

      •  I was curious about your time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        frame and could not be sure if I knew when coal began to be used for fuel...  Having consulted Wikipedia, which is usually ok for this kind of info, my historical timetable is undergoing a major revision!

        Even if fracking doesn't cause earthquakes large enough to do building damage, this could still wake more people up to the water issues. Those 3 -4 quakes can disrupt water supply, which could be badly polluted whether it is diverted or not.

        "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 Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:11:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  depends on the scale, of course. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO

          One of the huge and directly traceable examples of modern ecosystem destruction is the case of the Aral Sea--directly relatable to Soviet/post Soviet irrigation practices.

          But this is hardly new...there's been a lot of investigation into the links between overexploitation of resources, over grazing, deforestation, desertification...for thousands of years.  One big example is around 2200 BC and later--there may have been some major climatic events at work but there's definitely evidence that even then we were contributing to increasing soil salinity and local ecosystem destruction.

          Even before that, there are examples of humans behaving badly in marginal regions...borders between river valleys and deserts for example, possibly leading to local socio-economic deterioration (although that's simplistic).

          And of course there are countless examples of hunting animals to extinction.....

  •  What's the cumulative damage risk? nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uciguy30
  •  Glad the study is out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue in NC, socalmonk

    I've gotten into pissing matches here with people who insist that fracking doesn't cause earthquakes.

    •  And already people here are saying (6+ / 0-)

      Awwwww. 3.0 is nothing, don't worry about it.

      How many times have arguments of that sort been used on other issues, and we've later seen the ugly cumulative effects of some bad policy or other? As a commenter just upthread posted, "What's the cumulative damage risk"?

      Is it greater than zero?

      Should we simply ignore the trend because these earthquakes are currently only strong enough to damage a building that "could be blown over by a strong wind"?

      Why are so many of us here jumping on the "frack, baby, frack" bandwagon, or at least the "frack 'til it hurts, anyway" bandwagon? Are we that in love with natural gas? Has the propaganda from the AGA and the NGSA gotten even to people who should be more skeptical than that average TV viewer?

      I agree, acting like Chicken Little isn't a good response, either, but I see too many people looking for excuses to ignore the multiple downside risks of fracking.

      "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

      by blue in NC on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:18:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If USGS is saying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue in NC, PreciousLittle

        that fracking can cause this magnitude of quakes, it's a definite issue. It's an issue for the grid's weak points. It's also an issue for gas pipelines and such. It's an issue for any other underground piping and/or conduit system. Including the extensive ones at every single one of our nuclear plants.

        Relatively small quakes can do considerable damage to such things. They can also do considerable damage to dams. Including those with population centers downstream, and those impounding cooling water at those same nukes. You can turn off the boiler at a coal plant without much trouble just by not feeding it. We now know you can't do that at a nuclear plant.

        If gas frackers are causing earthquakes we have a problem that must be immediately addressed. If those quakes can trigger larger ones, we have a bigger problem.

    •  that's not what they say...i've seen some of those (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, Sarbec, terrypinder

      arguments.

      They readily acknowledge a link when there's an obvious link.  As does USGS.  It's when people start attributing things like the 5.8 in Virginia to fracking based on absolutely nothing that they get upset.

      I've seen very few people question the link between fracking and small earthquake swarms within a few square miles of the injection wells.

  •  Groundwater contamination by fracking (7+ / 0-)

    is to me more significant in its impacts AND more proveable in its origins, than is seismic instability caused by fracking.

    Unfortunately, epidemiology takes a long, long time, a lot of research money, and a lot of ill people to PROVE adverse effects from toxins.  

    Heard some excellent reporting about it recently on one of my favorite radio shows, "Living on Earth".  This was the most memorable and disturbing segment:

    



    Is Fracking Making People Sick?

    ... FRAZIER: The couple also live in Avella, on a 600-acre farm with a koi pond and chicken coop. They have three kids. It’s not a stretch to say the well has become almost another family member, complete with its own nickname.



    KATHY AVOLIO: The kids call it ‘College!’ They do.  Our kids’ll say, hey, that’s ‘College’ out there

    .
FRAZIER: Guy Avolio is an urgent care physician. He’s heard and read reports of water contamination from fracking. But he’s convinced that drilling is the right thing to do. He’s very concerned about America’s energy independence. The Avolios don’t drink their well water, but they do have it tested every few months just in case. The water, says Kathy Avolio, is safe. 



    KATHY AVOLIO: I would never put my kids, no matter what price tag you put on it, would I ever put my kids in harm’s way. But I also feel like my husband does, we have to try, to get this.  I mean, this is an incredible technology. 



    If they don't drink their well water, obviously they don't really believe it's "safe".   Personally I'd rather leave my kids 600 clean acres with drinkable water.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:31:04 PM PDT

    •  This is the better story (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, elfling

      I don't doubt that fraking can cause a bit of geological instability,  but I don't believe it can cause a major quake in any area that didn't have dangerous quakes since before people got to North America.

      But screw up groundwater?  Serious, and not at all surprising.

      The earthquake problem is just a sideshow, and makes us look stupid for harping on it.

      Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

      by mbayrob on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 08:54:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, if they don't drink their well water, (0+ / 0-)

    what water do they drink?  Do they have the water they do drink, tested?  

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:31:37 PM PDT

  •  What is the earth for? (0+ / 0-)

    We are building a web of pipelines and power lines across our states, even as more evidence of links to earthquakes arises, but hey, what could possibly go wrong?

    These negative consequences should be even more of a national security issue than energy independence. You can't grow food on poisoned land and water. That's pretty basic.

    Eminent domain is going to laugh its ass off at property rights as farmland is seized and family homes are demolished to make way for Big Gas. Not to mention the blow to property values when a compressor is installed next door.

    Gas executives will live comfortably in one or another of their mansions and beach houses, and their kids will never know deprivation.

    The people who gain from leasing their land will be able to relocate; too bad for those who can't afford to escape the damage.

  •  Let's be clear about the cause of damage (8+ / 0-)

    It is certainly true that fracking threatens the health of humans, animals, and the environment. But it's important to understand the source of the earthquakes.

    It is not fracking per se, but disposal of the the used frack fluids in high-pressure injection wells, that is causing earthquakes. Having permanently ruined the water used in the operation, the fracking companies have to get rid of it. It can't be cleaned in an economically sustainable way, and it certainly can't be sent to a sewage treatment plant or just dispersed into a stream or lake. The only way to dispose of it is to pump it deep underground and hope it never comes back up.

    So: Injection wells cause earthquakes, not fracking as such.

    Fracking itself can only cause permanent poisoning of aquifers, serious air pollution, fish kills, the deaths of pets and entire herds of cattle, horrendous road destruction, appalling traffic problems, the destruction of neighborliness as pro- and anti-fracking groups battle each other, and a deepening distrust of the state and federal governments when they choose to go with the big money rather than follow the will of the people. (So that's okay then!)

    In New York State, more than 100 local communities have enacted bans and moratoria on fracking, and we're on track to reach 200 within the year. It remains to be seen what Cuomo will do; few trust him on this issue. Although he claims he wants to "follow the science," he ignored recent calls for a study of the health effects of fracking.  Obama also seems to be on the wrong side of this issue. One could make the case that the dominant forces in our country are the major industries, some of which have both the money and the desire to intimidate our most powerful representatives.      

    My advice to those who are concerned about fracking is to act locally, at the very least. It's a lot easier to buy politicians at the federal and state levels than it is to corrupt local town boards.

    If the state overrules us on local control, there will be hell to pay. We've said no, not here, emphatically and repeatedly, and we won't be overruled by bought-and-paid-for politicians operating at the behest of the richest industry in the world.  

    •  We get it. A fracking process associated (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, PreciousLittle

      byproduct is likely contributing to earthquakes.

    •  Local people are for sale too (0+ / 0-)

      and at bargain basement prices.  There's competition for corruption at the state level; the corrupt can (and do) hold out for bigger bribes :-)  The local people can often be bought for much less.

      So there's no substitute for being vigilant at the local level, and having the alternate media infrastructure needed to know when oil industry lobbyists are packing local boards and holding "public hearings" that the public hasn't heard about.

      This was a problem when people woke up to how Walmart and other big-box operators were getting permits to set up shop in many areas.  I'd be very surprised if the oil and gas industries do not have similar lobbying operations that work on corrupting county and city government.

      Local press used to cover this stuff, but with its economic collapse, it can be very hard to find out when these clowns have arranged to create the legal fiction of public oversight.  The key is to know when these meetings happen, and being able to get people to these meetings to make sure that when those envelopes of money are about to change hands, that the actual public has people monitoring the process.  Otherwise, your local pols are no more reliable than the sewer rats that run state governments.

      Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

      by mbayrob on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:03:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's see the fracking Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

    "no-fault" it's way out of this one ...

    "Four more years!" (Obama Unencombered - The Sequel)

    by jwinIL14 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:31:55 PM PDT

  •  conversation at whiteface re fracking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee

    St Pats day I was skiing at whiteface in upstate NY.  Two men next to me at lunch discussed the recent testimony one gave in ohio regarding fracking "We knew about the earthquake a week before it happened I said".  While pumping (into an injection well) Our man registered the tremor & stopped.  A week later the earthquake hit.  his actions saved a bigger event.  etc.  No one could have forseen:A perfect storm of geology;   No laws broken; It'll never happen again. (ok, let's write some regulations...so it will damn well be illegal if it ever happens again.).  The man ended by quoting someone from the hearing.  "This is about three things: Jobs, jobs & jobs.  He told his friend how he loved the people of ohio

  •  i'm curious (0+ / 0-)

    the abstract doesn't match your description.

    the abstract very clearly states the regions the increase is seen. I haven't seen the paper yet, but there are a number of papers in the latest BSSA related to the subject that are in my queue to read. I certainly don't doubt the conclusion they came up with although I would love to see how they got around the "increased surveillence" problem, as at present there's a huge seismometer network making its way across the country that began operation more or less when the increase was noted. your diary says otherwise. That conclusion I very much doubt.

    [insert pithy sigline here]

    by terrypinder on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 07:35:12 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site