Earthquakes caused by fracking are a common occurrence in the US. We have seen a 4000 percent increase in earthquakes in the US in the last 8 years. Earthquakes caused by natural causes can be both destructive and deadly but they are unavoidable, whereas earthquakes caused by fracking for climate change causing natural gas are both lamentable and avoidable. Fracking related earthquakes are caused when the heavily polluted water used for fracking is disposed of by injecting it deep underground below aquifers near fault lines.
A new report mapping earthquake hazards, including those induced by fracking, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGG) says that
Eight years ago the US was averaging 24 earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or larger each year. In 2015, there were 1,010 earthquakes of 3.0 or greater. This year we may exceed that number. As of mid-march there have already been 226 earthquakes in the central United States alone.
According to the USGG, fracking has put parts of Oklahoma and Kansas on a par with California in terms of their earthquake risk. Last year, Oklahoma officially earned the dubious distinction of being the most earthquake prone place on earth. Scientists have linked this seismic activity to the fracking boom in the state. In 2009 Oklahoma experienced 20 magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes in 2015 there were more than 700.
Even if we were to stop injecting wastewater deep underground, the earthquakes would likely continue as it sometimes takes a while for the water pressure to trigger a quake.
To see the USGG’s earthquake map click here.
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