Distant Quakes Can Trigger Temblors at US Fracking Sites

Wells filled with waste injection fluids at oil and gas fields across the United States are at risk of earthquakes as big as 4 or 5 on the Richter scale, triggered by larger temblors across the globe, says a new study reports Brian Bienkowski of the Daily Climate at Climate Central. Waste injection wells are increasing as domestic energy production soars. Companies increasingly use water and chemicals to unlock natural gas from shale or force oil from these wells, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. As oil and gas industries pump waste into sub-surface wells, the pressure can weaken nearby faults and leave them vulnerable to seismic waves passing by from other earthquakes – even ones on the other side of the Earth, says the study, published in the journal Science. Waves from major shakers travel enormous distances through Earth’s crust. As they do so, said lead author Nicholas van der Elst, a researcher at Columbia University, they “squeeze rock formations like a sponge.” This opens up new passageways for fluids to get into faults and weaken them, he said. Fracking is becoming a much shakier deal.

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

 

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte

 

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Source

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/distant-quakes-trigger-temblors-in-the-oil-patch-study-16238

 

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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