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Multi-stage fracking, which can drill several miles deep in the Earth, has only become prevalent in recent years. Once introduced, however, Arkansas, West Virginia and Texas all saw an unexpected increase in quakes across the region. The correlation has caused concern in other parts of the country, including West Virginia, where residents are asking lawmakers to reconsider the legality of fracking, which can not only cause earthquakes but is overall detrimental to the local ecosystem. One incident in central Virginia occurred in 2008 when fracking caused an explosion of a natural gas pipeline that created a fireball that stretched up to half a mile long and tall and injured five people. Mineral, VA, the site of Tuesday’s quake’s epicenter, is only 90 miles from the West Virginia border, where activists are rallying to change the lax state legislation which has caused companies to conduct fracking operations more and more and recent years.
1. Human activity can cause earthquakes. No less an authority than the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) asserts this. And they offer as an illustration a series of atypical Colorado quakes in the 1960s, resulting from the Army’s injection of waste fluid produced by its Rocky Mountain Arsenal chemical weapons plant northeast of Denver.
2. Seismic activity has been linked to the injection of waste water from the unconventional production of natural gas using hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking). A southeastern New Mexico area that has been experiencing repeated earthquakes since the late 1990s are near the injection wells for oil production waste water, the New Mexico Tech Observatory has reported. In April 2011, in Arkansas, two natural gas wells were closed down until scientists can determine why over a thousand unexplained earthquakes occurred in areas near drilling sites and waste injection wells. Since the well’s closing, a supervisor at the Arkansas Geological Survey reports, incidence of earthquakes have declined dramatically, much as they did in Colorado fifty years ago.
3. The petroleum industry is resistant to taking into account scientific and historical data. In late summer 2001, a swarm of earthquakes occurred near fracking waste water injection wells outside of Trinidad, Colorado, and USGS has not ruled out the wells as the cause. The epicenter of the August 22 Colorado quake was Trinidad, the capital of Las Animas County, the vastest county in Colorado and, for over a decade, the hotbed of state’s most extensive fracking operations, including the unconventional coalbed methane extraction. Las Animas is one of seven locations in the U.S. where the EPA announced that it will launch a study to determine the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, focusing on Las Animas' drinking water. But local groups say the physical stability of the region could be at risk.
4. Nuclear plants which lie on fault lines intensify the risks of earthquakes. With Japan’s nuclear catastrophe on the public radar, the nuclear power industry has been quick to assure that American reactors have been built to resist such seismic events. The North Anna nuclear plant, less than 20 miles from the Virginia quake, shut down automatically, venting a small amount of steam but no radioactive material, according to plant spokesperson. But one reactor is already not functioning and the others are running on diesel. As early as 1973, plant owners knew that a fault line ran under the reactors, and covered it up. The plant was built amid mudslide and rock falls, clear signs of geological instability.
5. Industry often seeks to keep information and historical data private.The epicenter of Virginia’s earthquake lies on the Marcellus Shale. Though no hydraulic fracturing permits have been issued due to a legal suit by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Center considers the George Washington National Forest -- much of which lies above the Marcellus -- among the ten most endangered in the South due to hydraulic fracturing plans for the area. A half century of lessons from Colorado's history with fluid injection and earthquakes will be essential to safeguard the integrity of Virginia’s fragile and ecologically essential Marcellus region. But while Virginia’s Marcellus has not been fracked yet, the commonwealth has been in the forefront of coal bed methane extraction, which -- like shale bed extraction -- depends on hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, blasting, explosions and injection of waste water under the earth.
Originally posted by jalosangeles2011
Earthquakes have nothing to do with hurricanes or fracking or anything other than plate tectonics shifting due to continental drift. You guys, it's SCIENTIFICALLY proven and there is no objection. You're reaching for connection that makes absolutely no sense, not even science fiction sense. This should be a place for valid information, so we do not increase the "whackjob" persona that mainstream science/government label groups as you. Be careful before you post that you're not just wanting to hear yourself, um, type.
You're reaching for connection that makes absolutely no sense, not even science fiction sense
According to geologists, it isn’t the fracking itself that is linked to earthquakes, but the re-injection of waste salt water (as much as 3 million gallons per well) deep into rock beds. Braxton County West Virginia (160 miles from Mineral) has experienced a rash of freak earthquakes (eight in 2010) since fracking operations started there several years ago. According to geologists fracking also caused an outbreak of thousands of minor earthquakes in Arkansas (as many as two dozen in a single day). It’s also linked to freak earthquakes in Texas, western New York, Oklahoma, and Blackpool, England (which had never recorded an earthquake before). I think it’s really hard to deny there’s a connection when the frequency of Arkansas earthquakes dropped by two-thirds when the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission banned fracking (see www.huffingtonpost.com...). Note that they didn’t stop entirely, which suggests that fault disruption may persist even after fracking stops.
Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 16:02:16 UTC
Friday, August 26, 2011 at 04:02:16 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
105.9 km (65.8 miles)
421 km (261 miles) NE of Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands
462 km (287 miles) SW of Severo-Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
727 km (451 miles) ESE of Poronaysk, Russia
1665 km (1034 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
horizontal +/- 15.3 km (9.5 miles); depth +/- 8.9 km (5.5 miles)
NST=342, Nph=385, Dmin=739.2 km, Rmss=0.95 sec, Gp= 61°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=4
Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)