Connection Between Quakes and Underground Frack-water Disposal Looks Solid

Categories: The Environment

richter-scale.jpg

There's a reason State Farm wants to insure Johnson County homes against earthquakes. Injecting millions of barrels of fracking waste water loosens faults the way whiskey loosens tongues.

Cliff Frohlich of the Jackson School of Geosciences deployed seismographs throughout a 43-mile grid in the Barnett Shale. They detected eight times as many earthquakes as had been reported by National Earthquake Information Center, the clearinghouse for quake data. Each of the 24 reliably located epicenters was within two miles of one or more injection wells around Dallas/Fort Worth and Cleburne, handling 150,000 barrels of wastewater a day, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Of course, not all injection sites were seismically active, he notes.

"It might be that an injection can only trigger an earthquake if injected fluids reach and relieve friction on a nearby fault that is already ready to slip," Frohlich says in a statement.

To nail that down, he'd have to look for evidence of faulting, or a lack thereof, near seismically active and inactive waste-water injection wells. This is the second such study to draw a link between injection wells and seismic activity. A report from the National Research Council reached the same conclusion in June.



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
30 comments
elenagreenmom
elenagreenmom

I am curious--is fracking going on around Glen Rose--where we have Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant?  I sure hope not...

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Connection Between Quakes and Man-Caused Climate Change Looks Solid

orton1227
orton1227

The link between fracking and earthquakes seems logical to me.  But why aren't other areas experiencing this surge in earthquakes (especially areas that have been drilled for years and years) like southern and western Lousiana, southern Oklahoma, all over Pennsylvania, NE Colorado, not to mention every other region of Texas?  Is this the only places out of hundreds that is experiencing an increase in quakes?

Will
Will

"There's a reason State Farm wants to insure Johnson County homes against earthquakes. "

 

Yeah, because it's pure profit!  Little magnitude 2-3 shakes worry people enough that a few of them will buy insurance, but don't cause any damage for the insurance to pay out for.

claytonauger
claytonauger

So what is the Dallas City Council's position on exploiting a resource in Dallas that causes hardship in near-by Johnson County? Would "Sulfuric Sheffie" and Jerry "Rabbit Hole" Allen have any problems opening up the city to widespread drilling knowing the wastes from such would be trucked to Johnson County and injected into a fault that that triggers damage in Cleburne? What about Linda Koop, or Ms. Mangolin? When you get past the PR, the reality of fracking in Dallas just keeps getting more tangled and dangerous. Is $34 million all it takes to sell your neighbor down the river?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Wonderful article and a very solid piece of study and insight into the observed phenomena ...

 

I can't wait to see how both sides misquote this article.

 

One thing that I will point out is that the eastern edge of the Barnett shale is not a continental interior but rather is an ancient continental margin.

darrd2010
darrd2010

Here's hoping that Mike, Sheffie, Tennell, and Jerry have read the report including today's front page of the Dallas News about the chemicals as well. The four of them could use some book learnin' before the next public meeting. Their display last week confirmed that they have a deep lack of education and or some sort of blind allegiance to the gas industry. There has to be a reason for them to support the industry over residential/environmental health and safety.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @elenagreenmom we've certainly had quakes near there.  I guess it depends on your definition of  "around" Comanche Peak.  Though I doubt a magnitude 3 would do much to that facility.  Remember for each integer increase on the Richter Scale we have a 10 fold increase in severity.   A magnitude 6 is 1000 times more powerful than a 3

darrd2010
darrd2010

 @orton1227 they all are, you just don't get the reports. Look how long it took for this to be aknowleged after 6-7 years.

brantley.hargrove1
brantley.hargrove1

 @orton1227 The link is between quakes and the injection of fracking waste water into formations deep underground. The same thing has been documented in Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas and probably a few other places I can't think of at the moment.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Will kind of naive to think that insurance companies are in the business of taking on liabilities.  You're dead on, the risk to the Ins. Company can be mitigated by deductibles.  I guess people are denser than rocks, cause they don't seem to notice that insurance seems to cover nothing anymore--at least once you try to claim it, you find deductibles or exclusions have rent your policy through with holes.

darrd2010
darrd2010

 @claytonauger Sheffie would prefer to have injection wells in the City of Dallas. He's 'on record' with that in front of three Dallas citizens. When you mention Jerry and 'hole', that pretty much sums up his character on this topic. Linda, who has the most experience with environmental issue should be leading the council on protecting residents but has chosen to play the part of "I'm new, I'm learning, let's wait and see'. Ann Margolin being Mike's neighbor is in an interesting position.

darrd2010
darrd2010

 @floribun We've NEVER attributed the quakes to fracking but ALWAYS to the

injection process containing contaminated water but as the industry says....

it's not hazardous.

 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

The author of the paper stated that there is a correlation of earthquakes in the vicinity of only certain high volume disposal wells.  The author also stated that this may be due to the proximity of the wells to faults but that there was not sufficient open seismic data to allow for the accurate placement of faults in the Ellenburger Fm. to the disposal wells.

 

My question for your is, will you be using the conclusions of this report to support a position that all disposal wells in the Ellenburger Fm be shut in or that an applicant for an injection well show the locations of faults within the disposal radius of the well?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @brantley.hargrove1 I would think this more deserving of a story, than worrying about quakes that are equivalent to a truck driving down your street

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Fracking+poses+risk+water+systems+research+suggests/7049011/story.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+canwest/F229+%28Vancouver+Sun+-+News%29

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Double-O-Joe by the way, the balance sheets of those Gas companies aren't doing so swell right now.  We have a glut in NG.  Again, I'm not saying LNG can't be used, it's just not very economical.  NG is much more affordably transported through pipes. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @brantley.hargrove1 An LNG ship has the explosive power of a small thermo-nuclear device.  Houston could be wiped.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Double-O-Joe  @holmantx  @brantley.hargrove1  @orton1227 Natural gas is not exported.  It is very expensive to get it cold enough or under enough pressure to make it liquid.  It then has to be transported in very expensive ships, that can pressurize their cargo. 

 

Natural gas can be piped, but that is limited.  LNG is shipped in other parts of the world, just not here.  But, the price is so low because we aren't able to use it; yet.

Double-O-Joe
Double-O-Joe

 @holmantx  @brantley.hargrove1  @orton1227 We're not using the energy resource.  Since the power companies in Texas refuse to move away from coal, and NG prices are lower than the bottom of the hole we're pouring our tax dollars down, the gas is being sold on the open market to countries that actually use it.  The pittance that gets returned goes nowhere except the balance sheets of the gas companies.  "Energy independence" is a fairy tale, with the Barnett Shale starring as the handsome prince.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @TexOHara no, but phones, computer ins work that way.  i've had a fair amount of equipment stolen $1000 and up, but with the new  (10yrs) deductibles it's not worth reporting to either the police (we've got our best guys on it, they're working in shifts) or the insurance company. 

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...