Earthquakes

Below are media reports and published research into the impact of seismicity from fracking and deepwell injection of waste fluids (in reversed chronological order):

Seven million Americans at risk of man-made earthquakes, USGS says (NZ Herald, 29 March 2016)

Oil industry caused 2005 swarm of Californian earthquakes: newly published study (Desmogblog, 8 Feb 2016) –  “Based on our empirical results, injection-induced earthquakes are expected to contribute marginally to the overall seismicity in California,” the researchers … wrote. “However, considering the numerous active faults in California, the seismogenic consequences of even a few induced cases can be devastating.” The researchers also warned that the number of California quakes tied to oilfield activities has been little-studied compared to other parts of the country and that natural quakes may have “masked” the oil industry’s impacts.

Earthquake in Northern B.C. caused by fracking, says regulator (CBC News, 16 Dec 2015) – “…scientists said last summer that the 4.6 magnitude August quake may be the largest in the world caused by hydraulic fracturing.”

Fracking Industry Has Changed Earthquake Patterns in Northeast BC (The Tyee, 21 July 2015) – “Scientists originally thought that hydraulic fracturing wouldn’t trigger anything more than microquakes. But now that the technology has set off magnitude 4.4 quakes in Alberta, scientists are grappling to determine what kind of hazard industrial tremors might pose to pipelines, dams and other infrastructure. … Due to limited monitoring, industry and government lack a full understanding of how the wave of quakes is changing the flow of groundwater in the region or the migration of gases such as methane, radon and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere throughout northeast B.C…. A recent presentation by Dan Walker, senior petroleum geologist for the BC Oil and Gas Commission, identified public safety, property damage, well bore integrity (the shaking can cause wells to leak methane) and aquifer contamination as genuine hazards from industry quakes.
… teams of scientists studying the issue in western Canada admit that they are dealing with much uncertainty because the shaking hazards caused by industry-triggered tremors can be greater than those from natural earthquakes. … University of Western Ontario seismic hazard expert Gail Atkinson… explained that researchers “cannot predict the likelihood or magnitude of such events from specific planned operations because we do not have enough data on the complex natural rock systems, nor do we have validated predictive models.” 
”

Different approaches to comparable problems – guest post by Herman Meijburg (The Christchurch Fiasco, 25 April 2015) – “After 584 earthquakes and with still some 1100 predicted quakes in the near future, the first natural gas production unit in Groningen, The Netherlands, was finally shut down on April 14th. … an Independent Commission of Enquiry ….  the link between the gas production and the damage to the properties was acknowledged beyond reasonable doubt. …The court ruled that … the Dutch government carried the responsibility to act on behalf of the well-being of those affected citizens in order to prevent further harm. The Raad van State (the highest senior advisory body in the Netherlands in legislation matters) urged the government to shift the burden of proof from those affected people, to the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij. That company now bears the responsibility of proving that the damage caused to claimants’ assets is caused by the extraction and production of natural gas.”

US government says drilling causes earthquakes – what took them so long? (Guardian, 24 April 2015) – “As the US Geological Survey confirmed on Thursday, in the last seven years, geologically staid parts of the US have seen earthquakes like they haven’t seen for millions of years. And they were triggered by drilling for oil and gas. The drilling – or rather, the process of injecting water deep underground – has been triggering earthquakes in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.”

Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection (Keranen et al. July 2014, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1255802)

Record number of Oklahoma tremors raises possibility of damaging earthquakes – Updated USGS-Oklahoma Geological Survey Joint Statement on Oklahoma Earthquakes Originally Released: 10/22/2013; Updated May 2, 2014 – “The analysis suggests that a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes is triggering by wastewater injected into deep geologic formations. This phenomenon is known as injection-induced seismicity, which has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases identified recently in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas and Colorado….”

On Shaky Ground: Fracking, acidising, and increased earthquake risks in California (Earthworks, Centre for Biological Diversity and Clean Water Action, March 2014)

Induced seismicity associated with fluid injection into deep well in Youngstown, Ohio (Won-Young Kim in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth July 2013Vol 118 issue 7 p.3506-3518)

Enhanced remote earthquake triggering at Fluid-injection sites in Midwestern United States (van der Elst et al. in Science 12 July 2013 Vol 341 no.6142 p.164-167)

Injection-Induced earthquakes (Ellsworth, 2013, in Science 12 July 2013 Vol 341 no.6142)

Potentially induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, US: Links between waste water injection and 2011 Mw 5.7 earthquake sequence  (23 Jan 2013)

The 2011 Lorca earthquake slip distribution controlled by groundwater crustal unloading (Nature Geoscience, 12 Oct 2012)

Are sesmicity rate changes in the midcontinent natural or manmade? (to be presented in April 2012, ELLSWORTH, W. L., et al from USGS) A write up about the study is available at EENews.
Managing the seismic risk posed by wastewater disposal (April 2012, Mark D. Zoback, Earth Magazine)

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