New report officially links earthquakes and waste water disposal

The US Geological Survey have just released a report that links increased seismic activity with processes related to High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing, other wise known as fracking.

The open file 2016 report entitled, ‘One Year Seismic Hazard Forecast for the central and eastern United States from Induced and Natural Earthquakes’, states:

“Earthquake rates have recently increased markedly in multiple areas of the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS), especially since 2010, and scientific studies have linked the majority of this increased activity to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells.”

“Such changes have caused concern to many, including residents, business owners, engineers, and public officials responsible for mitigating or responding to the effects of these earthquakes on nearby populations,” it continues.

Basic schematic of injection well. (image source: indianagazette.com)
Basic schematic of injection well. (image source: indianagazette.com)

Whilst the report states that some earthquakes have occurred before practices of waste water injection, they state that this is not always the case in that: “While peak acceleration ground shaking values may not correlate as well as peak ground velocity or other measures with damage (Worden and others, 2010), these examples illustrate that high ground shaking is occurring at sites near wastewater disposal wells.”

“The evidence for the activity being induced is especially compelling when reductions in the earthquake rate correlate with reductions in wastewater injection.”

“Over the past few years, however, Oklahoma has recorded several hundred M3.0+ earthquakes per year, many of which are thought to be related to wastewater injection.”

These “induced earthquakes,” as the report calls them, “create seismic hazard to buildings, bridges, pipelines, and other important structures and are a concern for about 7.9 million people living in the vicinity of these events.”

The authors of the report include Mark Petersen, Charles Mueller, Morgan Moschetti, Susan Hoover, Andrea Llenos, William Ellsworth, Andrew Michael, Justin Rubinstein, Arthur McGarr, and Kenneth Rukstales.

Mark Peterson, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said in a statement that the new study “shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

Stay connected with the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network (FFAN) via Facebook, twitter. Furthermore, you can view our blogs pictorially on Pinterest.