Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Moderators: DrVolin, 82_28, Elvis, Jeff

Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:57 pm

Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes
- Common Dreams staff
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has confirmed that a series of earthquakes in the state were caused by injecting leftover fracking fluids, "brine," deep into wells.


(photo: ProgressOhio)

ODNR stated today:

Geologists believe induced seismic activity is extremely rare, but it can occur with the confluence of a series of specific circumstances. After investigating all available geological formation and well activity data, ODNR regulators and geologists found a number of co-occurring circumstances strongly indicating the Youngstown area earthquakes were induced. Specifically, evidence gathered by state officials suggests fluid from the Northstar 1 disposal well [a deep injection well primarily used for oil and gas fluid waste disposal] intersected an unmapped fault in a near-failure state of stress causing movement along that fault.
A number of coincidental circumstances appear to make a compelling argument for the recent Youngstown-area seismic events to have been induced.

The ODNR report notes that in 2011, the Youngstown, Ohio area experienced 12 "low-level seismic events," and that the 2011 earthquakes were unique because of their proximity to a deep disposal well, known as Northstar 1, used to inject fracking fluids.

The report adds that "before 2011, [Ohio Seismic Network] had not recorded earthquake activity with epicenters located in the Youngstown area."

From April 26 to Dec. 15, 2011, state geologists and regulators investigated a possible link between the well injections and the earthquakes, but were unable to obtain enough necessary data.

In Dec. of 2011 equipment and assistance was provided by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and after obtaining more seismic data, the ODNR director stopped operations at the well.

Based on the data, the report states:

A number of coincidental circumstances appear to make a compelling argument for the recent Youngstown-area seismic events to have been induced.
Based on the new information, Ohio is not banning fracking, but has new regulations for fracking fluids disposal.

With more than 144,000 Class II wells injecting more than 2 billion gallons of brine every day in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Ohio’s Class II disposal well regulations meeting or exceeding EPA regulations, questions linger about the potential for fracking-induced earthquakes elsewhere.




Senate rejects GOP measure to build oil pipeline
endeavour
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31164
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:37 am

just bumping
Joe Hillshoist
 
Posts: 9351
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:45 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby elfismiles » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:58 am

Flashback February 2009:
BIG OIL, EARTHQUAKES, & TSUNAMIS : WHAT THEY ARE HIDING
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=22925

Creating Earthquakes and "UFOs" via fluid injection
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=28722

And I believe we briefly touched on known techniques for creating earthquakes in our interview with Jerry Smith before his death...

PsiOp-Radio #98 with guest Jerry Smith
http://media.blubrry.com/psiopradio/p/p ... 91129a.mp3
http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/arc ... 112909.mp3
http://www.archive.org/details/PsiopRad ... rryE.Smith
User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 8390
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby elfismiles » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:35 pm


UK Govt. Seismic Fracking Report Certain to Sharpen Debate
By John Daly | Fri, 20 April 2012 22:44

The process of hydraulic fracturing is a mining technique which uses injected fluid to propagate fractures in a rock layer to release hydrocarbon deposits that would otherwise be uncommercial. Developed in the U.S. and first used in 1947 for stimulating of oil and natural gas wells, the use of “fracking” soared in the past decade as thousands of wells have been drilled into the Marcellus Formation, also referred to as the Marcellus Shale, a deposit of marine sedimentary rock found in eastern North America.

While initial environmental protests of the technique centered around its possibility of polluting underground water aquifers as a number of known carcinogenic substances are used in the procedure, more recently research has focused on an even more ominous byproduct of the technique – the increased possibility of earthquakes. While in the U.S. the U.S. Geological Survey and the state governments are investigating the link, in Britain the Department of Energy and Climate Change on 17 April published an independent expert report recommending measures to mitigate the risks of seismic tremors from hydraulic fracturing and invited public comment on its recommendations.

The report reviewed a series of studies commissioned by Cuadrilla, whose fracking operations in Lancashire aroused public debate, and the document “confirms that minor earthquakes detected in the area of the company’s Preese Hall operations near Blackpool in April and May last year were caused by fracking.” DECC’s Chief Scientific Advisor David MacKay remarked, “If shale gas is to be part of the UK’s energy mix we need to have a good understanding of its potential environmental impacts and what can be done to mitigate those impacts. This comprehensive independent review of Cuadrilla’s evidence suggests a set of robust measures to make sure future seismic risks are minimized - not just at this location but at any other potential sites across the UK.”

The report is certain to reopen debate about the Lancashire tremors, which on 1 April and 27 May 2011 shook the Blackpool area, registering 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter Scale. On 2 November a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources, “The Geo-mechanical Study of Bowland Shale Seismicity,” acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing was responsible for the two tremors and possibly as many as fifty separate earth tremors overall, noting that it was “highly probable” that the hydraulic fracturing of its Preese Hall-1 well did trigger a number of “minor” seismic events.

At the time of the report’s release Cuadrilla Resources CEO Mark Miller said, “We unequivocally accept the findings of this independent report and are pleased that the report concludes that there is no threat to people or property in the local area from our operations. We are ready to put in place the early detection system that has been proposed in the report so that we can provide additional confidence and security to the local community. Cuadrilla Resources is working with the relevant local and national authorities to implement the report’s recommendations so we may safely resume our operations.”

The British Geological Survey also linked smaller quakes in the Blackpool area to fracking. BGS Dr. Brian Baptie said, “It seems quite likely that they are related,” noting, “We had a couple of instruments close to the site and they show that both events occurred near the site and at a shallow depth.”

While the DECC report confirms that Cuadrilla Resources 's test-fracking likely caused the 2011 two small tremors last year, it also said that Cuadrilla Resources could proceed with exploring the area if it follows a new set of expensive safety measures.

Cuadrilla Resources clearly sees the report as vindication, with Miller proclaiming, “We are pleased that the experts have come to a clear conclusion that it is safe to allow us to resume hydraulic fracturing, following the procedures outlined in the review. Many of today’s recommendations were contained in the original expert studies we published in November last year, and our supplementary information sent to DECC in January. We have already started to implement a number of the experts’ recommendations in the pursuit of best practice and look forward to the final decision by DECC ministers concerning the resumption of hydraulic fracturing following the six week period for public comment commencing on 17 April.”

And insurers in the City of London clearly believe that the DECC report validates fracking. City insurance brokerage Willis chief operating officer of global energy Neil Smith said, “Shale gas is here to stay… The issues are of a political nature and a lot are born out of ignorance of what the operations are.” Dominick Hoare of Watkins Syndicate at the Lloyd's of London insurance market was equally bullish, saying, "With a proper assessment it's a good risk to assume," as was Matt Yeldham, the head of casualty at Aegis' marine and offshore liability division, who commented, "Provided fracking is conducted in an appropriate fashion, it would appear on the whole to present a reasonable risk profile" before adding, "Underwriters are not there to cover long-term health hazard and other latent issues."

It is precisely those “long-term health hazard and other latent issues” that should be at the top of the British government’s concerns, but Westminster has repeatedly proven that its interests more closely align with those investment bankers in the City of London than those forced to live with the consequences if the environmental nay-sayers ultimately prove correct about water pollution and “seismic events.”

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-Gener ... ebate.html

User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 8390
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby elfismiles » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:21 am


Report: Low risk of fracking-generated earthquakes
By Seth Borenstein

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: 8:33 p.m. Friday, June 15, 2012

WASHINGTON — The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas does not pose a high risk for triggering earthquakes large enough to feel, but other types of energy-related drilling can make the ground noticeably shake, according to a major government science report.

Even those human-made tremors large enough to be an issue are very rare, says a special report by the National Research Council. In more than 90 years of monitoring, human activity has been shown to trigger only 154 quakes, most of them moderate or small, and only 60 of them in the United States. That's compared with a global average of about 14,450 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater every year, according to the report released Friday.

Most of those are caused by gas and oil drilling the conventional way, damming rivers, deep injections of wastewater and purposeful flooding. Only two worldwide instances of shaking — a magnitude 2.8 tremor in Oklahoma and a 2.3 magnitude shaking in England — can be attributed to hydraulic fracturing, a specific method of extracting gas by injection of fluids, the report said. Both were last year.

"The number of events have been pretty small," said report Chairman Murray Hitzman, a professor of economic geology at the Colorado School of Mines. "Is it a huge problem? The report says basically no. Is it something we should look at and think about? Yes."

With increased drilling, it is important to watch wells better and consider potential repercussions, the report said. No one has been killed, nor has there been major damage, from 
human-made quakes in the United States, said the report by the council, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences.

"There is potential to produce significant seismic events that can be felt and cause damage and public concern," the report said.

California and Oklahoma had the biggest human-made quakes as byproducts of conventional oil and gas drilling.

Colorado has one of the most documented cases, involving three 5.0 to 5.5 human-induced quakes linked to an injection well.

Northern California also has had 300 to 400 tiny quakes a year since 2005 because of geothermal energy extraction.

Drilling — usually deep, high-pressure injections of fluids — can trigger shaking because it changes the crucial balance of fluid into and out of the subsurface. That can then affect the pore pressure of the soil, which is what helps keep faults from moving, Hitzman said.

The report makes sense as far as it goes, said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist William Ellsworth, but since the council started its study, government geologists have noticed a strange increase in earthquakes that seem human-made.

At a professional seismology conference in April, Ellsworth presented a USGS report on a sixfold increase in human-made quakes. He pointed to induced quakes of magnitude 4 or larger in the past year in six states but said much of this happened too late for the council to include in its study.

Hitzman said it's too early to tell whether those recent quakes would have changed the report's conclusions.

Another study — also too recent for the council's report — says a 4.7 magnitude quake in Arkansas in 2011 was human-made, and scientists are still looking at a 2011 quake in Oklahoma that measured 5.6 as a potentially induced tremor, Ellsworth said.

The human-made quakes Ellsworth has been seeing are almost all related to wastewater injection, he said. Ellsworth said he agreed with the research council that "hydraulic fracturing does not seem to pose much risk for earthquake activity."

If the country starts capturing the global warming gas carbon dioxide from coal power plants and injecting it underground, there is a potential for larger quakes given the amount of the heat-trapping gas that would have to be buried, the council's report said, and that's an issue that needs more study.


http://www.statesman.com/business/repor ... 00295.html
User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 8390
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:54 pm

Special Investigation: The Earthquakes and Toxic Waste of Ohio's Fracking Boom
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 10:01
By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report

Fracking is facilitating an oil and gas boom in the Buckeye State, and Ohioans have reason to be shaken up about the issue. Between the spring of 2011 and early 2012, a fracking waste injection well known as Northstar 1 caused more than a dozen minor earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio, including one 4.0 magnitude earthquake that was felt for miles.
A Truthout investigation has revealed that Ohio regulators permitted Northstar 1 operators to raise its maximum injection pressure twice, once shortly before and once again after the well caused two initial earthquakes on March 17, 2011. The injection well had the highest pressure of any well in the state, but the well operator was not required to conduct seismic testing before drilling and operating the well.
The well was drilled more than 9,000 feet into a deep rock formation called the Precambrian basement, where the bottom of the well was left uncased, or "open hole," allowing drilling waste to flow freely into the underground formation, according to geological documents obtained by Truthout. It appears the drilling waste fluid lubricated a previously unknown fault as drilling waste moved through the Precambrian layer and caused the series of earthquakes.
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Nature Resources (ODNR), which permitted Northstar 1 and regulates oil and gas waste injection wells, told Truthout they had not had enough information about the earthquake activity when the pressure increases were approved and have since reformed their permitting process.
Crucial data about Northstar 1 and the Precambrian formation appears to have existed during well operation. As Northstar 1 was initially drilled, researchers with Battelle, a massive nonprofit research firm, teamed up with state geologists to collect data from deep within the well as part of a "high priority" research project on the region's geological potential for underground disposal of carbon dioxide waste from coal burning power plants. In its preliminary report linking Northstar 1 to the earthquakes, ODNR stated that, "there are observed permeability zones" where waste could permeate the Precambrian basement "in the 'piggyback' logs recorded by Battelle," but that data was not made available to regulators prior to waste injection because the project lacked funding to fully process the logs at the time.
Battelle did obtain "final processing" of the data logs by late March 2011, around the same time Northstar 1 was increasing its pressure and the first earthquakes struck the area, according to ODNR.
Battelle geologist Neeraj Gupta told Truthout that Battelle shares such research with its partners, such as the ODNR's geologists, but he did not know any specific dates in regards to the Northstar 1 logs. He also said the complicated information recorded in such logs, which can take months or even a year to process, is gathered for the purpose of understanding the region's geology. The logs provide a snapshot of the well during the brief drilling period and it's difficult to use the information to predict future problems like earthquakes if geologists cannot correlate seismic data. The information, Gupta said, is useful to geologists "in hindsight."
Truthout has also confirmed that in most cases the ODNR, federal regulators, and other state regulators do not test the contents of potentially toxic fracking wastewater before disposing of it despite complaints from environmental groups.
Fracking Injection
Natural gas drilling is bringing new wealth to Ohio and producing cleaner burning fuel, but it also creates a lot of waste. Hydro-fracking rigs use millions of gallons of chemical-laced water to drill for oil and gas. The wastewater that flows back during drilling is saltier than seawater and can contain toxic metals and radioactive substances from deep underground, so authorities in Ohio allow disposal companies to inject the wastewater back underground into spent gas and oil wells. The waste is shot down a well and left to mingle deep underground, where drillers rely on natural formations to confine the waste.
Read More - Gas Rush: Fracking in Depth
Fracking wastewater is also recycled, treated and stored in above ground pits, but these methods carry the risk of contaminating the surface of the Earth, where life is generally better without toxic waste. Ohio has many old gas wells that can be filled with the waste, so injection has become the method preferred by regulators and the industry. In recent years, the state has taken in millions of gallons of wastewater from Utica Shale operations in the state's eastern end and millions more from Marcellus Shale drillers in nearby Pennsylvania.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that, every day, the oil and gas industry pumps more than two billion gallons of drilling waste into some portion of 144,000 active wells across the country, and although regulators and the industry will often point out that accidents are rare, a number of documented fracking waste spills; contamination events; and outbreaks of minor earthquakes in Arkansas, Ohio, and other states have environmentalists up in arms.
Fracking Hazardous Waste Exemption
Under federal law, wastes deemed "hazardous" are injected into strictly regulated Class I underground disposal wells. But more than two decades ago, the oil and gas industry worked with the EPA to exempt oil and gas fracking waste from being considered "hazardous" waste. Federal regulators recognize that "the exemption does not mean these wastes could not present a hazard to human health and the environment if improperly managed," according to EPA documents.
Like all oil and gas drilling waste wells, the Northstar 1 well that was linked to the Ohio earthquakes is a Class II well. Class II wells are specifically used to store oil and gas drilling waste and subject to fewer safety requirements than Class I wells.
In states such as Ohio, state regulatory agencies like the ODNR have received primary regulatory authority over Class II wells from the EPA.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) has called on the EPA to end the hazardous waste exemption for fracking fluids. NRDC senior policy adviser Amy Mall told Truthout that she believes the EPA is looking into the issue, but has yet to formally respond to the NRDC's request.
"There is lots of evidence that the waste can be extremely toxic that is being released into the environment in ways that endangers human health," Mall said. "The oil and gas industry should play by the same rules as any other industry that generates toxic waste."
Ohio environmental activists are touting a recently released independent analysis of fracking waste by Ben Stout, a biology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University. According to his analysis, the drilling waste fluid is hazardous waste and "should be treated as such."
For example, Stout found elevated levels of the dangerous heavy metals arsenic and barium in the drilling brine at concentrations that exceeded the acceptable drinking water standards 370 and 145 times, respectively.
Oversight could increase in Ohio in response to earthquake scare. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, an openly pro-drilling Republican, recently issued an executive order giving a top ODNR official the authority to order seismic testing of injection wells. ODNR bought new seismic testing equipment and added reforms to its permitting process, including the evaluation of "the potential of conducting seismic surveys" of injection wells.
Earthquakes Shake Ohio Regulators
On March 16, 2011, ODNR permitted Northstar 1 operator D&L Energy to increase the maximum pressure of the well from 1,890 pounds per square inch (psi) to 2,250 psi, making it the highest pressure well in Ohio, according to ODNR records. The first earthquakes hit the area the next day, but ODNR claims the well pressure did not exceed 1,890 psi until March 19.
ODNR allowed the pressure at Northstar 1 to be increased again to 2,500 psi on May 3. ODNR claims regulators did not have enough seismic information at the time.
Earthquakes continued near the well in the months to come and the agency would later tell news outlets that there was no correlation between Northstar 1 and the earthquakes. The agency changed its tune in March 2012 and confirmed that fluids had caused an earthquake originating deep in the Precambrian basement rock.
After the 4.0 earthquake hit on December 31, 2011, Governor Kasich quickly placed a moratorium on injection wells in the area and regulators banned drilling in the deep Precambrian layer.
According to ODNR records, there was only one seismometer - a device used to detect and measure earthquakes - in the area until December 2011, when a new director took over at the agency and brought in an outside research firm to collect additional data. Northstar 1 was quickly shut down within a month after newly deployed seismometers detected another earthquake near Northstar 1 about nine months after the first earthquake was recorded.
In it's initial report, ODNR cites the observed "permeability zones" in the Precambrian basement observed in "piggyback logs" kept by the massive nonprofit research firm Battelle as evidence linking Northstar 1 to the earthquakes. These logs, however, "were not available to inform regulators of possible issues ... prior to well operation," due to lack of funding and were instead later made available to "provide geologists with additional information on the region's geological formations."
Northstar 1 operator D&L Energy criticized the ODNR's preliminary report, saying ODNR permitted the company to drill into the Precambrian rock and then used the site to collect "geological information."
"The current preliminary report does not indicate ODNR accepts any responsibility for its decision," D&L Energy said in a statement earlier this year.
Battelle oversees a regional partnership established by the US Department of Energy (DOE) that partners public agencies, big coal companies and university researchers together to study the potential for carbon sequestration in the Midwest. Carbon sequestration involves pumping carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants deep underground and the DOE and big energy firms have been exploring the technology for years to quell concerns about global warming and usher in a new generation of coal-burning power plants.
Internal documents from the Ohio Coal Development Office obtained by Truthout indicate that the ODNR geologists who alerted Battelle about Northstar 1 considered data collecting during drilling at the well to be a "high priority opportunity" for a carbon sequestration research project under this regional collaboration.
Gupta, a Battelle geologist, told Truthout that he doubts geologists could have used complicated piggyback log data, which takes a snapshot of a well during the brief drilling period, to predict problems such as earthquakes without correlating seismic data or doing a "detailed characterization."
"It's a learning opportunity for all of us," said Gupta, who added that such data is very important to advance geological understanding of a region.
ODNR's former chief geologist, Larry Wickstrom, worked with Battelle and industry groups to set up carbon sequestration piggyback projects and was recently fired from his position as Ohio's top state geologist. Top ODNR officials said they removed Wickstrom specifically because he withheld important information from other divisions in the agency on several occasions, according to ODNR documents originally obtained by the Ohio newspaper The Athens NEWS. The documents do not mention the Northstar 1 piggyback log data, but cite several examples, including an incident in January 2012 when Wickstrom failed to inform colleagues about an earthquake near Youngstown until four days after it occurred.
In a note to another colleague, ODNR Deputy Director Andy Ware wrote that Wickstrom's replacement should be "an objective expert who is not so closely connected to the industry ... and who will keep us fully informed of all decision making the Division of Geological Survey."
The carbon sequestration technology was once thought to be an innovating new way to guarantee a sustainable future for coal-powered energy during the climate crisis, but interest and investment has tapered off in recent years. A study recently released by Stanford scientists might further put the idea to rest. The researchers found that large-scale carbon sequestration operations could trigger - you guessed it - earthquakes.
endeavour
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31164
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:22 pm

Mon, 2012-11-19 13:22 STEVE HORN

Breaking: SUNY Buffalo Shuts "Frackademia" Center, Shale Resources and Society Institute

Today, SUNY Buffalo closed the doors of its Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI), what we at DeSmog have described as an epicenter for "frackademia" and a public relations front for the oil and gas industry to promote hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") under the guise of scientific legitimacy that a university offers.

A letter from SUNY Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said that the nail in the coffin for SRSI was what we coined its "shill gas study," the first paper published by SRSI. All of the co-authors of this paper had direct ties to the oil and gas industry, as did four out of five of its peer reviewers.

Tripathi explained his rationale behind slamming the door shut on SRSI, writing,

The university upholds academic freedom as a core principle of our institutional mission. With that being said, academic freedom carries with it inherent responsibilities...The May 15, 2012 report...led to allegations questioning whether historical financial interests influenced the authors' conclusions. The fundamental source of controversy revolves around clarity and substantiation of conclusions. Every faculty member has a responsibility to ensure that conclusions in technical reports or papers are unambiguous and supported by the presented data. It is imperative that our faculty members adhere to rigorous standards of academic integrity, intellectual honesty, transparency, and the highest ethical conduct in their work.

Because of these collective concerns, I have decided to close the Shale Resources and Society Institute.

Tripathi's announcement comes on the heels of the upcoming SUNY Board of Trustees meeting set to take place in Albany, NY on Dec. 3-4.

New Yorkers Against Fracking proclaimed the announcement a "victory for real science over junk science peddled by the gas industry."


Desmogblog (http://s.tt/1u78G)
endeavour
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31164
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:18 pm

From NBC News Science:

Confirmed: Fracking practices to blame for Ohio earthquakes
Charles Q. Choi LiveScience

22 hours ago

Image
This map shows the intensity of shaking in the area of a magnitude-3.9 earthquake that struck near Youngstown, Ohio, on Dec. 31, 2011. Research has linked this earthquake to the underground injection of wastewater from fracking.

Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, sand and other materials under high pressures into a well to fracture rock. This opens up fissures that help oil and natural gas flow out more freely. This process generates wastewater that is often pumped underground as well, in order to get rid of it.

A furious debate has erupted over the safety of the practice. Advocates claim fracking is a safe, economical source of clean energy, while critics argue that it can taint drinking water supplies, among other problems.

One of the most profitable areas for fracking lies over the geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which reaches deep underground from Ohio and West Virginia northeast into Pennsylvania and southern New York. The Marcellus Shale is rich in natural gas; geologists estimate it may contain up to 489 trillion cubic feet (13.8 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas, more than 440 times the amount New York State uses annually. Many of the rural communities living over the formation face economic challenges and want to attract money from the energy industry.

Youngstown quakes
Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, which is located on the Marcellus Shale, had never experienced an earthquake, at least not since researchers began observations in 1776. However, in December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online to pump wastewater from fracking projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes, the strongest registering a magnitude-3.9 earthquake on Dec. 31, 2011. The well was shut down after the quake.

Scientists have known for decades that fracking and wastewater injection can trigger earthquakes. For instance, it appears linked with Oklahoma's strongest recorded quake in 2011, as well as a rash of more than 180 minor tremors in Texas between Oct. 30, 2008, and May 31, 2009.

The new investigation of the Youngstown earthquakes, detailed in the July issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that their onset, end and even temporary dips in activity were apparently all tied to activity at the Northstar 1 well.

For instance, the first earthquake recorded in Youngstown occurred 13 days after pumping began, and the tremors ceased shortly after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down the well in December 2011. In addition, dips in earthquake activity lined up with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and other times when injection at the well was temporarily stopped.

"Earthquakes were triggered by fluid injection shortly after the injection initiated — less than two weeks," researcher Won-Young Kim, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., told LiveScience. "Previously, we knew (of) unusual earthquakes around Youngstown, Ohio, only on March 17, around 80 days after injection began. If we had better seismographic station coverage, or if we were more careful, we could have caught those early events."

Ancient fault
The earthquakes were apparently centered in an ancient fault near the Northstar 1 well, and Kim suggested pressure from wastewater injection caused this fault to rupture. The quakes crept from east to west down the length of the fault — away from the well — throughout the year, a sign that they were caused by a traveling front of pressure generated by the injected fluid.

The researchers did note that of the 177 wastewater disposal wells of this size active in Ohio during 2011, only the Northstar 1 well was linked with this kind of seismic activity, suggesting this ability to cause earthquakes was rare. Kim personally felt injecting wastewater deep underground "is a fairly good method of massive fluid waste disposal."

Kim stressed these earthquakes are not directly related to fracking of rock for natural gas. "They are due to injection of waste fluid from fracking," he noted.

In the future, "we need to find better ways to image hidden subsurface faults and fractures, which is costly at the moment," Kim said. "If there are hidden subsurface faults near the injection wells, then sooner or later they can trigger earthquakes."

In the future, operators of such wells may look for earthquakes for about six months after the beginning of operations, Kim said.

"However, there are cases when triggered earthquakes occurred nearly 10 years after the injection," he noted.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
User avatar
stillrobertpaulsen
 
Posts: 2373
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:43 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (37)

Re: Confirmed: Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquakes

Postby elfismiles » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:45 am

CO2 injections likely culprit in Texas earthquakes -study
Reuters – 13 hours ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Carbon dioxide injected into oil and gas wells may have caused a series of minor earthquakes in Texas long before the adoption of current hydraulic fracking, according to a study published on Monday in a national science journal.

The study, which analyzed 93 earthquakes that occurred between March 2009 and December 2010, appears to be the first to link earthquakes of magnitude 3 and above and carbon dioxide injections in the Cogdell oil field near Snyder, Texas.

Tremors in the area that occurred between 1975 and 1982 were previously linked to the injection of water into wells but the same explanation could not be applied to earthquakes that occurred in late 2000s, the paper's two authors said.

"The timing of gas injection suggests it may have contributed to triggering the recent seismic activity," the study said. "If so, this represents an instance where gas injection has triggered earthquakes having magnitudes 3 and larger."

The paper, authored by Wei Gan of the China University of Geosciences in Beijing and Cliff Frohlich of University of Texas in Austin, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It relied on data gathered by six temporary seismograph stations that were a part of the USArray program.

Recent studies, including a 2012 paper by one of the authors, have linked fracking and wastewater disposal wells to increased seismic activity in places like the Barnett Shale in northern Texas and central Oklahoma.

This is the first publication to hint at a direct link between enhanced oil recovery and seismic activity in Texas.

Carbon dioxide is injected into wells nearing the end of life to enhance their output. It is a technique that is mostly used in mature oil fields such as the Cogdell field, one of the 7,000 oil fields that make up the Permian Basin in West Texas.

Oil companies like Occidental Petroleum have extensive carbon dioxide injection projects in the field. In fact, Occidental's website says nearly 60 percent of its oil production in West Texas and southeast New Mexico comes from Carbon-dioxide flooding.

The abstractof the latest study can be found at: http://bit.ly/HCXXxp
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/31/1311316110

(Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/co2-injections ... nance.html
User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 8390
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 6 guests