When the Seismological Society of America says that fracking earthquakes are a real thing, then it’s a good bet that they are. The annual SSA meeting last Thursday featured a daylong session on ‘Induced Seismicity” that featured new research indicating that oil and gas fracking, and the practice of disposing wastewater underground, can alter the state of an existing fault. The result is to spread the range of seismic hazard farther out from the faultline than previously thought.

While we’re waiting for Fox News to find a seismic denialist to let the public know that this is all just a bunch of hooey, let’s take a closer look at that research.

fracking earthquakes

It’s worth noting, first off, that given the thousands of fracking and disposal wells already in operation, and the thousands more that are drilled every year, the number of wells directly linked to seismic activity so far is miniscule.

Part of the reason for that involves a shortfall in research and monitoring resources, absence of a regulatory structure for self-monitoring, and the fact that induced seismic activity is a relatively new field of research.

More to the point, given the potential for significant damage and the fact that manmade earthquakes are virtually […]

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