Fracking is controversial on its own due to environmental concerns and water contamination. To add more to the controversy, study finds that fracking causes earthquakes.
Fracking is the forced extraction of gas or oil through high-pressure injection of liquid on subterranean rocks.
A new study found that earthquake or mild tremors follows after hydraulic fracturing or fracking process ends. Researchers found that in 900 recorded individual tremors in Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada were linked to fracking. This occurred between December 2014 and March 2015.
Most tremors that occurred in those dates were mostly mild and couldn't be felt. However, it's largest quake was 3.9 magnitude.
Protesters outside Gov. Cuomo office New York (Photo Credit: Adam Welz/CREDO)
Fracking in United States doesn't seem to set off earthquakes. It was said that the method of fracking in Canada may have induced the earthquakes.
The scientists in University of Calgary who studied the earthquakes in Fox Creek said that the quakes were induced in two ways, the increase of pressure during and after the process; and second, the change in pressure due to accumulation of the fracking liquid.
Dr. Eaton and Xuewei Bao, the researchers who conducted the study of the links between fracking in Fox Creek and earthquakes in the area, found two patterns of seismic activity. Earthquakes occurred in the east of the fault zone the time when fracking took place or was ongoing. Minor intermittent tremors occurred in the west only after several months after fracking took place.
It's a fracking earthquake!
Eaton added that Fox Creek just happened to be an area that is vulnerable to seismic activity related to fracking. He said that other areas may be prone to induced-tremors linked to fracking.
He stressed that this is a public concern and similar vulnerable areas should be monitored.
Eaton said the findings of this research could help regulators take steps to avoid such induced earthquakes.
Findings of the study stated in the paper in Science