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Fracking Earthquakes

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From an article by AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein published 14 Feb 2015 by Associated Press under the headline: 


SAN JOSE, California (AP) — Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily and linked to energy drilling are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates.

This once stable region is now just as likely to see serious damaging and potentially harmful earthquakes as the highest risk places east of the Rockies such as New Madrid, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina, which had major quakes in the past two centuries.

They are mostly in areas with energy drilling, often hydraulic fracturing, a process known as fracking. Many studies have linked the increase in small quakes to the process of injecting wastewater deep underground because it changes pressure and triggers dormant faults.

Until now, those quakes were mostly thought of as nuisances and not really threats. But Ellsworth’s continuing study, which is not yet published, showed the mere increase In the number of tiny temblors raises the risk of earthquakes that scientists consider major hazards.



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