Geologists Link Earthquakes In Ohio To Fracking

Researchers have been blaming earthquakes in the Ohio region on fracking for about three years. According to a previous Inquisitr report, in December 2010 the Northstar 1 deep injection well began its efforts to deposit the toxic waste water produced by hydraulic fracturing. In 2011, the area began experiencing small earth quakes for the first time. New Scientist reported that waste water from Pennsylvania is deposited through this well, and as soon as this practice began in Ohio, the quakes in the area began too.

Geologists in Ohio have now linked seismic activity in a geologic formation within the Appalachian Mountains to fracking. The Associated Press reported that, due to these findings, Ohio began implementing issuing new, far stricter permit conditions on Friday. These new conditions are among the nation’s strictest on fracking. The permit conditions were implemented after the state geological investigation of five small quakes in the Appalachian foothills found that fracking the Utica Shale probably increased pressure on a previously undiscovered fault. State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers called the fracking and quake link “probable.”

While earlier investigations had linked multiple earthquakes in Ohio to deep-injection wells, as noted in the previous report by Inquisitr, this new discovery is the first time that geologists have linked the Ohio quakes directly to fracking itself, Simmers told the Associated Press. These finding may have consequences across the nation. The associate executive director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission, Gerry Baker, explained that the nation’s state regulators are looking into the implications of the Ohio findings. Baker explained that a consortium of states is already discussing the matter.

A two-year-old report, funded by the US government, had already noted at least two earthquakes that were caused from the direct act of fracking. The two quakes were not serious. According to the report, in Oklahoma, a magnitude 2.8 quake was blamed on fracking and in England, a magnitude 2.3 quake was also blamed on it.

Lawmakers were already taking fracking risks into consideration in other states. For example, in California, where the already volatile San Andreas Fault threatens massive damage-potential, a bill (B1132) that would ban fracking in California until the practice is confirmed safe, passed its first committee Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The Sierra Club in Santa Lucia called fracking in California “a disaster waiting to happen.”

While the nation’s geologists and lawmakers sort out the implications of the link between fracking and earth quakes, anti-fracking activists are calling for even more research on fracking. Activists and others claim that fracking is causing an even more damaging phenomenon. The new report about fracking and earthquakes in Ohio is certain to create more questions and accusations among activists groups this week given that Ohio has also been experiencing sinkholes.

[Photo courtesy of ProgressOhio]