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Earthquake Strikes Near Ohio Fracking Site

 
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 05:10 pm
I'm by no means an expert on geology, let alone tectonics, but I will be amazed if pumping water into the ground can cause an earthquake.

I'm not at all amazed that Eco-Kooks would argue that it can.

Seems to me to be similar to an argument that the use of laser pointers is causing increased sun spot activity.
JTT
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 06:18 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
I'm by no means an expert on geology, let alone tectonics, but I will be amazed if pumping water into the ground can cause an earthquake.


Fracking is not "pumping water into the ground". It is pumping water and other chemicals/sand/who knows what else at exceedingly high pressures in order to fracture rock and open up passages for oil or gas.

I certainly can't state for sure that fracking can cause an earthquake but I don't think it unreasonable at all that plates that are "stuck together" by immense friction and moving against each other, might move/shift suddenly when a lubricant is added to that seam interface.

Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 06:26 pm
I live in fracking central... They use propane, diesel, sand, fresh and salt water to do the job. They've been doing it here for over a decade and have perfected the process in the last 4-5 years. If this was all it took to create a earthquake, I'd be living with the aftershocks on a fairly continuous basis. As of yet, there have been none.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 06:57 pm
@Ceili,
Same here, though water and sand are the only ones I've heard of. Water is meant to include soluble chemicals, of course.

Any concerns I have about the process are related to the chemicals in the water, and how likely it is to get into the aquifiers. In arid areas like mine, the volumn of water going into the ground can become a concern.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 07:03 pm
@roger,
I agree. In some areas 'round here, there are massive pools of yuckiness. They are now using this water to do some fracking. The water tables have dropped here, maybe in part to all the water being used and/or the ongoing drought like conditions. Now they are starting carbon capturing, kinda the same idea, put it in the ground and hope for the best. Time will tell I guess...
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 03:11 pm
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GAS_DRILLING_EARTHQUAKES?SITE=TXHAR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday.

Research is continuing on the now-shuttered injection well at Youngstown and seismic activity, but it might take a year for the wastewater-related rumblings in the earth to dissipate, said John Armbruster of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y.

Brine wastewater dumped in wells comes from drilling operations, including the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale that has been a source of concern among environmental groups and some property owners. Injection wells have also been suspected in quakes in Ashtabula in far northeast Ohio, and in Arkansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, Armbruster said.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 03:30 pm
@JTT,
Allow me to restate my opinion:

I will be amazed if pumping water and other chemicals/sand/who knows what else at exceedingly high pressures can cause an earthquake.

Once again we have people who bemoan the hubris of humans asserting, in the most hubristic of ways, that humans can have a direct and measurable effect on the most powerful of natural forces.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 03:32 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Did you read my post, just above yours, Finn? Click on the link. There's more.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 06:13 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Once again we have people who bemoan the hubris of humans asserting, in the most hubristic of ways, that humans can have a direct and measurable effect on the most powerful of natural forces.


Consider that the pressures exerted fracture rocks. That means that they move rocky around. The proppants [sp?], sand and ceramic "beads" are circular in nature, meant to keep passages open, to induce slipping and sliding, not wedging and closing up, something which non-spherical proppants would cause.

I too would be surprised but not too too much. Potential earthquakes are all at differing levels of "set to go". Who knows what a bunch of slippery stuff could do?

Mountains don't, everyday, collapse or shed off huge portions of their bulk. But it can happen, just from freeze thaw cycles.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 06:18 pm
@JTT,
Thing about that is, the earthquakes would seem to be triggered in existing fault lines, not created out of nothing. They do fracks around here, and we don't have quakes. I'm not sure the process is extensive here as some areas, but it has been going on for a heck of a long time.

Maybe stress relieving is a good thing - 'maybe' meaning about the same thing as maybe not.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 06:37 pm
@roger,
Quote:
Thing about that is, the earthquakes would seem to be triggered in existing fault lines, not created out of nothing.


I couldn't agree more, Roger, which was my point to Ceili.

Quote:
Maybe stress relieving is a good thing - 'maybe' meaning about the same thing as maybe not.


That's a possibility but something tells me that it ain't gonna stop the big one of the New Madrid zone.

Quote:
There are estimates that the earthquakes were felt strongly over roughly 130,000 square kilometres (50,000 sq mi), and moderately across nearly 3 million square kilometers (1 million square miles). The historic 1906 San Francisco earthquake, by comparison, was felt moderately over roughly 16,000 square kilometres (6,200 sq mi).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_Earthquake
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 07:42 pm
@JTT,
What makes you think that wasn't my point as well?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 08:50 pm
@Ceili,
Quote:
What makes you think that wasn't my point as well?


Possibly this, Ceili.

Quote:
I live in fracking central... They use propane, diesel, sand, fresh and salt water to do the job. They've been doing it here for over a decade and have perfected the process in the last 4-5 years. If this was all it took to create a earthquake, I'd be living with the aftershocks on a fairly continuous basis. As of yet, there have been none.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 10:07 pm
@JTT,
You've made her point with those quotes, and made it well.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 10:15 pm
@JTT,
Well, I see your having a bit of a problem here.
If that's all it took... to confuse you, obviously, you are not the english speaking genius you claim to be.
Fracking hasn't caused an earthquake in non earthquake areas. So, obviously, fracking alone can't cause an earthquake. Clearer? Or do you need it to be spelled out?
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 09:49 am
@Ceili,
I've been thinking about the term "earthquake" and wondering if it is the correct word? Earthquakes result from deep earth plates shifting. Is fracking shifting the earth plate or is it just shifting dirt and/or rocks? What would be a more accurate word description? If so, what word would you suggest?

BBB
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 04:37 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
If these earthquakes are caused by fracking, it would be more akin, to an underground avalanche, me thinks.. I don't believe fracking could cause enough pressure, to move the earths plates.
Fracking can go quite deep, it's putting a liquid/steam into the ground and when the pressure becomes too much, it causes the oily matter to liquify, causing them to raise to the surface, or follow the path of least resistance, generally up the pipes supplied for it to do so. The material being taken from the ground is replaced by another, liquid.

Have you ever heard of the teacher that fills a big glass jar with big rocks, then asks the class is the jar is full?
They think it is.
Then he fills it with smaller rocks, then sand, then water. When he gets to that point, he decides the jar is full.
It is full, but it is NOT, however, solid.
Neither is the rock with oil in it. Most of the oily material is sponge like.
This is why, I think what is happening on the east coast is more like an underground avalanche, if anything. There are layers of rock that are not solid, add the fracking and it could cause some collapses, or slides. Is this what the rumbles are? I have no idea. They'd have to measure the depth of the "earthquake" and pinpoint it's epicentre. Could it just be a weak spot in the crust or is it caused by excess pressure, we are applying or is it natural? To little information to know at the moment. I'll be interested to hear more than conjecture.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 05:06 pm
@Ceili,
Lustig Andrei wrote:
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GAS_DRILLING_EARTHQUAKES?SITE=TXHAR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday.


OK, that story says that a "well used to dispose of wastewater...almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes." So it wasn't the fracking, it was the well. An extremely fine distinction, but a distinction nonetheless, I suppose.

Btw, what is the definition of 'is'?
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 06:59 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
is = to be, no?
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 07:29 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.
 

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