Fracking earthquakes are causing so much controversy that it is being claimed that earthquakes in Oklahoma are beating the California earthquake numbers.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, an oil fracking EPA study determined they couldn’t find a definitive case where fracking has contaminated oil. While that may be surprising to environmentalists, it may be even more surprising to many Americans that the United States oil production now beats even Saudi Arabia due to the growing fracking operations throughout the Midwest. Fracking for oil has become such big business that entire cities are springing up out of nothing, and many jobs are being created. In fact, the growth rate in U.S. oil production outpaces the next nine fastest growing countries combined.
Unfortunately, this growth may be causing an unforeseen side effect. In 2014, the number of California earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or higher were recorded at 88 while Oklahoma has been hit by 174 earthquakes so far. It’s believed that the number of earthquakes may have been influenced by the amount of fracking doubling in Oklahoma from 2009 to 2012. Previously, Oklahoma earthquakes averaged only one per year.
Last summer, a scientific study of fracking earthquakes suggested that there was a lot that geologists do not know yet:
“The process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as it is normally called, involves pushing large amounts of water through rocks to coax out oil and natural gas from underground wells. Industrial wastewater disposal can make an area more prone to seismic activity preceding a larger event. Along with linking earthquakes near wastewater injection sites in the US, the scientists also linked them to quakes as far away as Japan and Chile…. Other research has also shown that the [fracking] process alone can also cause them…. While the study was able to find that fracking can lead to more earthquakes, scientists have not yet found why the faults near these sites are more vulnerable to triggered earthquakes.”
But earlier this year, in May, scientists at the Seismological Society of America claimed they believed the “underground disposal of vast amounts of wastewater generated by fracking likely induce earthquakes by changing the state of stress on existing faults” and that as “more wastewater is sequestered underground, it could trigger larger faults tens of miles away from fracking sites.” In the worst case scenario, it’s hypothesized that fracking “could have a cumulative effect and that as more wastewater is shot underground, more intense earthquakes could become the norm.”
Assuming the link to earthquakes is true, do you think fracking for oil should be stopped in the U.S., even if the economy is negatively impacted and gas prices rise?