Tag Archives: USGS

Speculation: Virginia earthquake caused by fracking

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) officially addressed the issue of human activity may be causing some of the earthquakes around the globe. Incidentally, the earthquakes are not due to the use of dynamites or even a nuclear bomb, it is due to fracking. Per Wikipedia, fracking is:

“Hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, fracing or hydrofracking, is the process of initiating and subsequently propagating a fracture in a rock layer, employing the pressure of a fluid as the source of energy. The fracturing, known as a frack job (or frac job), is done from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations, in order to increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of oil and natural gas and coal seam gas.”

The USGS included the following statement on their website:

“Earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in a few locations in the United States, Japan, and Canada. The cause was injection of fluids into deep wells for waste disposal and secondary recovery of oil, and the use of reservoirs for water supplies. Most of these earthquakes were minor. The largest and most widely known resulted from fluid injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado. In 1967, an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 followed a series of smaller earthquakes. Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established. (Nicholson, Craig and Wesson, R.L., 1990, Earthquake Hazard Associated with Deep Well Injection–A Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1951, 74 p.)”

This report establishes the fact that humans may have played a role in the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the last week (August 23, 2011).   There are multiple reports and news articles on the use of fracking and its link to earthquake. As New York Times reported in February 2011 that the town of GUY (an hour from Arksansas) has seen increase in earthquakes since the arrival of the gas companies, and the start of fracking.

“Mr. DeTurck and many others described a boom followed by a quick, alarming shift, a sensation one man compared to watching the camera dive off a cliff in an Imax movie. Some say they have felt dozens, others only four or five, and still others say they have only heard them.

They do, however, have similar suspicions about the cause.

Several years ago, the gas companies arrived, part of a sort of rush in Arkansas to drill for gas in a geological formation called the Fayetteville shale.

Local landowners signed leases and royalty agreements with the companies on the promise of a few hundred dollars or more a month. Drilling sites started showing up in the fields, and the trucks began rumbling through day and night. Residents began to wonder whether all of this was such a good idea.

“They took advantage of people’s ignorance,” said Greg Hooten, the superintendent of the local water utility, who now worries about the effect of the drilling on the groundwater. Nonetheless, Mr. Hooten had signed an agreement for drilling on his property. “Who’s going to stop the gas and oil companies?” he asked.”

This topic needs more research. However we must ask ourselves if we are on the right trajectory.




A Dot on the Map, Until the Earth Started Shaking – NYT