So many earthquakes have shook in the Dallas, Texas, suburb of Irving that media reports seem to be struggling to keep up, and social media isn’t the only media rumbling with accusations that fracking is to blame for these Dallas quakes. Inquisitr reported earlier when the latest count was nine earthquakes in the Dallas suburb.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) showed 13 earthquakes in the last seven days in the Dallas area as of Wednesday evening. In total, 22 seismographs will be compiling data about the Dallas quakes this week, with two expected to be deployed Thursday from the USGS, according to WFAA News.
Not long ago, people who blamed earthquakes on fracking operations were among those coined “conspiracy theorists” by the hydraulic fracturing industry leaders. In recent years, researchers from universities and the USGS are investigating fracking’s role more carefully, despite industry dismay. The Southern Methodist University (SMU) studies of past earthquakes found that injection wells used in fracking was a good possible trigger, but no one is willing to state the definitive cause of the Dallas/Irving earthquakes yet.
Brian Stump, SMU’s Albritton Chair of Geological Sciences, explained thus about the earthquakes around Dallas.
“It’s premature to speculate on the cause of this current series of seismic events… We’re just getting started. We want to support the local community in understanding these earthquakes, and the team appreciates the cooperation of the City of Irving, the United States Geological Survey, and IRIS in helping us get the best information possible.”
Stump told KDFW News that disposed wastewater from fracking operations in the area is not being ruled out.
“When they recover the oil and gas, there’s fluids with… there’s water with that, and they have to separate the water, and then they have to dispose of the water… Historically, it has shown that in some places that they’ve triggered small to moderate earthquakes.”
Understandably lots of Twitter traffic about the swarm of EQs in Dallas. Do you know largest EQ in TX history? http://t.co/l37KU3pAOx
— USGS (@USGS) January 7, 2015
NBC Dallas-Fort Worth also mentioned the possibility of fracking’s involvement in the earthquakes, but maintained that there “is no consensus on whether the Irving earthquakes are related to nearby fracking wells or simply natural movement of the Balcones Fault Zone, which runs through Irving.”
Art McGarr, with the USGS, told NPR about the potential risks from fracking.
“With time, as an injection activity continues, so will the seismic hazard as measured by the maximum magnitude.”
Even National Geographic is discussing the possibility that the Dallas-area earthquakes are linked to fracking.
“A growing body of research suggests that wastewater injections may lubricate faults and trigger earthquakes, although some industry representatives have downplayed the possibility of a link.”
Fracking and earthquakes are linked, according to the most recent research from seismologists. It’s mainstream news now.
— Scott Peterson (@_scottpetterson) January 8, 2015
The question that remains unanswered (for now) is whether or not fracking operations caused this specific string of earthquakes in and around the Dallas suburb.
[Photo via USGS screenshot]