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Earthquake Strikes Near Ohio Fracking Site

 
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:32 pm
@Ceili,
That was supposed to be a joke, Ceili. It's a line from Bill Clinton's testimony in front of Congress when he evaded a question by saying, "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is." It became a standard guffaw line for late-night comics.

My point was that it's a very subtle matter of definition whether it was fracking that caused a quake or water from a well involved in fracking.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:35 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
The rest of that reply somehow got lost in cyberspace somewhere along the line. It said:

My point was that it's a subtle matter of definition whether a quake was caused by fracking or by water used in a fracking operation.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:35 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
My feeling is that "almost certainly" means lack of proof. Not saying injection wells don't cause quakes, but there might not be a cause and effect relationship. I'd call it likely if the volumns and pressures are the same as the fracking process.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:37 pm
@roger,
Fair enough. To me "almost certain" means there's scant room for doubt.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:46 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Well, 11 quakes around a wastewater injection well is a good indication if there haven't been quakes there before. I've just gotten incredibly leery of stories that often turn out to have another side.
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:56 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Sometimes I can be thick as a brick.. ;-)
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 10:07 pm
@Ceili,
Quote:
Fracking hasn't caused an earthquake in non earthquake areas. So, obviously, fracking alone can't cause an earthquake.


There's two things wrong with this, Ceili. First, you can't state for sure that fracking hasn't caused minor earthquakes in AB. There are thousands of daily earthquakes that are undetectable.

But even if that's the case, that no earthquakes have occurred to date, it doesn't mean that they can never happen.

I believe that most fracking done in AB has been vertical shots to enhance oil recovery. If there is a move to lateral fracking in shale beds to force gas deposits out, there is a higher likelihood that it COULD cause some type of disruption.

All I've ever said is COULD.


0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 10:11 pm
@Ceili,
Quote:
If these earthquakes are caused by fracking, it would be more akin, to an underground avalanche, me thinks..


I agree that that is the more likely scenario. But whatever it is, if the ground quakes, it's an earth QUAKE.

I remember once hearing that if the entire population of China simultaneously all jumped from the height of a chair, there would be a [????] strength earthquake.

Was it an urban legend or hard science, I don't know?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 10:15 pm
@JTT,
And if they all jumped up at the same time, I suppose it would affect the orbit of the planet. Should we start a discussion on The Butterfly Effect?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 10:17 pm
@roger,
I vote we hunt for the G spot...
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 10:19 pm
@roger,
You'vwe been doing your homework, Roger. Smile
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 10:59 pm
@JTT,
Sometimes I just make stuff up.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jan, 2012 10:33 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
This is excellent information about what is happening underground while Fracking. It's not earthquakes.

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/MSI/WhatIsMS.html

BBB
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jan, 2012 05:43 pm
Quote:
Now, state officials are shutting down the injection wells and letting the waste fluids that were injected to “bubble back to the surface in an effort to relieve underground pressure.” The original injection pressure will force the brine waste water back out of the well into storage tanks, which should “help stop the ground from shaking.”


http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/01/05/state-plans-to-relieve-pressure-in-brine-well-to-help-fight-earthquakes.html



0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Mar, 2012 05:47 pm
http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/03/09/441903/confirmed-fracking-caused-ohio-earthquakes/

Cycloptichorn
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Mar, 2012 05:48 pm
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/09/ohio-stiffens-regulations-after-concluding-that-fracking-caused-earthquakes/

Quote:
Ohio stiffens regulations after concluding that fracking caused earthquakes
By Muriel Kane
Friday, March 9, 2012 18:31 EST

Ohio state regulators announced tough new regulations on Friday after concluding that the injection of wastewater underground as part of the controversial gas-drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” had almost certainly caused a dozen earthquakes near one well.

The regulations will require well operators to supply extensive geological data before requesting a new drill site, avoid certain rock formations, and keep track of pressure, volume, and the chemical makeup of all drilling water using state-of-the-art technology.

Investigators pointed to “a number of coincidental circumstances” connecting the quakes in northeast Ohio, which began in March 2011 and continued to the end of the year, with a well which had begun operation three months earlier. They also noted the presence of a fault in the rocks that was identified only after drilling began.

The quakes clustered around the city of Youngstown and ranged from magnitude 2.1 to 4.0, with the largest one, on December 31, causing Ohio Governor John Kasich to place a moratorium on drilling at certain locations.

Quakes in other locations have previously been blamed on fracking, the most notable being a 4.7 quake in Arkansas on February 27, 2011.

“Our evidence strongly suggests that the injection fluid lubricated a previously unmapped fault and contributed to seismic activity,” a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources explained. “It was an unfortunate situation, and the operator drilled the well to specifications and operated within all permitted levels.”

Environmental groups are planning to ask the state for a public forum on the issue. However, the company which operates the well, D&L Energy, objected to the report, insisting that there is “no reason to rush and accept bad or incomplete science.” It noted that the Ohio investigation had not tested the well itself and stated that it is currently awaiting the results of two separate studies of its own.

The fracking process involves injecting chemical-laced water into the earth at high pressure. Much of this water comes back up in a heavily contaminated state and has to be disposed of again by being injected deep underground. Ohio has been disposing of much of the wastewater produced by fracking operations in Pennsylvania, where there are fewer locations in which that sort of deep injection is possible, so the new regulations are likely to impact operations in both states.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Apr, 2012 10:14 am
@Butrflynet,
Scientists Link Rise In Quakes To Wastewater Wells
by Christopher Joyce - NPR
April 12, 2012

Scientists who watch for earthquakes have discovered a big increase in the number of small quakes in the middle of the country. It's an area that's usually pretty quiet geologically.

The scientists suspect the quakes are caused by wastewater wells. They plan to discuss their findings later this month at a seismology conference, but they've shared the basics with NPR.

Bill Ellsworth, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, says new technology over the past decade has given scientists a much better feel for when the Earth shakes.

"We've been watching the seismicity across most of the country very carefully for a number of years now," he says, "and one thing we had begun to notice was there was an unusual number of earthquakes occurring in the middle of the country."

A water truck heads up Colorado Road 215 along Parachute Creek. Water is key to extracting natural gas from deep underground.

Quakes Caused By Waste From Gas Wells, Study Finds

Very unusual, in fact. The background rate for the midcontinent had been about 20 quakes a year. That rose to 29 by 2008. Then it really jumped: 50 quakes in 2009, 87 the next year and a whopping 134 last year.

When USGS scientists zeroed in on where they took place, they noticed clusters near wastewater wells, especially in Colorado and Oklahoma. Waste wells are deep holes where various industries pump in wastewater. This has been a common practice for decades, and, once in a while, the pumping has created quakes.

But the boom in natural gas drilling across the country has created a lot more wastewater. That requires building more big wells to bury the water.

Ellsworth says in the right place, it doesn't take much to trigger a quake.

"Small perturbations can tip the scales, allowing an earthquake that might not otherwise happen for a very long time," he says.

More evidence linking quakes and waste wells keeps coming in from around the country.

Seismologist Steve Horton at the University of Memphis tracked a swarm of quakes along a fault in Arkansas in 2010 and 2011.

What's A Wastewater Well?

Hydraulic fracturing relies on high-pressure water and sand to break apart rock and extract natural gas. The wastewater generated by hydrofracking and other types of gas drilling is injected deep underground for long-term storage. Seismologists believe wastewater injection is causing earthquakes in some parts of the country. Waste wells often go deeper than gas drilling wells, down into basement rock, where faults are more common. Scientists think the water may be lubricating faults in the Earth's crust, causing them to slip.

"The earthquakes that happened then in a swarm followed the startup of two waste-disposal wells that were within 5 kilometers of this fault," he says.

Horton says injecting wastewater into a well raises the pressure of water already trapped in the particles or rock around it.

It's kind of like sticking a straw into a soupy souffle and blowing water into it. It moves things around underground, things like a fault. That's when you get a quake.

Horton says he's convinced there was a cause-and-effect connection between the waste well and the Arkansas quakes.

"The earthquakes started after the injection at the two wells started, and they stopped after the injection stopped," he says.

Horton points out that a lot of the evidence connecting waste wells and quakes is preliminary. Since there are small quakes in most parts of the country, it's hard to be sure that a waste well is at fault.

That doesn't look to be the case in Youngstown, Ohio. There were significant quakes last year associated possibly with a waste well there. The biggest hit the day after the well stopped injecting water.

John Armbruster, a seismologist with Columbia University, has monitored the well since then.

"The number of earthquakes there has dramatically reduced, which I would think you would take as evidence that the well was triggering the earthquake," he says.

Armbruster says Youngstown was no fluke. He has seen data that reveal more than a dozen small quakes in another part of Ohio, near the town of Marietta, over the past year-and-a-half. It's not a seismically active part of the state, but it has several waste wells.

Seismologists as well as industry experts point out that there are tens of thousands of waste wells in the country, and only a few create problems. But Armbruster says it's early days yet. Scientists need to put more instruments near waste wells.

"We haven't looked carefully, and we don't know what percentage of these wells would be causing earthquakes," he says.

The state of Ohio is taking action: It's tightening rules for where industry can drill waste wells to avoid quakes.

Also, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is working with the U.S. Geological Survey and other scientists to draft guidelines for waste wells in the rest of the country.
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