Blog #666 Fracking and Earthquakes

Fracking and Earthquakes

Now, how about earthquakes.  There are many reports of minor earthquakes near fracking sites.

The first linked article (earthworks) states:

“These aren’t just small quakes

“Although fracturing-related earthquakes are chronic, they were thought to be minor. But new research is showing that they can be quite large and damaging. The focus of the study, a 5.7 magnitude quake near Prague, Oklahoma, damaged 14 homes and other structures in the area.”

And this:

“In Oklahoma, where the number of earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or more has jumped from an average of less than five a year to about 40, the state has been slow to act

But, on the other side, the USGS – (United States Geological Survey group) says:

“Fact 1: Fracking is not directly causing most of the induced earthquakes. Disposal of waste fluids that are a byproduct of oil production is the primary cause of the recent increase in earthquakes in the central United States.

Fact 2: Not all wastewater injection wells induce earthquakes.

Fact 3: Wastewater is produced at all oil wells, not just hydraulic fracturing sites.

Fact 4: The content of the wastewater injected in disposal wells is highly variable.”

As presented before, there are two sides (or at least two sides) on this issue.  Cheaper energy made by taking ‘worn-out’ oil sites by pumping in a water (or salt-water) solution to cause the oil sites to release their gas and oil that (seemingly) can be done with a minimum of risk and problems,

The other side says that: (a) the number of such minor earthquakes is increasing and (b) the intensity is also increasing (although still minor as compared to San Andreas fault earthquakes).

I’m still probably on the cheaper energy side – but really would prefer more ‘renewable energy’.  But, ‘renewable energy’ sounds good, but it isn’t free. Yes, the wind blows (and blows and blows) the wind turbines – and the wind is free.  But, the wind turbines themselves are expensive to build and install on sites. Yes, they might last many years and generate a lot of energy, but the cost to produce the steel bases and blades is still significant.  

There is also an issue that the wind turbines do kill hundreds of birds a year (actually number is hard to determine).  

Solar power is also on the rise, but the expense of making solar panels exists.  I heard an estimate that it would take about 15 to 20 years to pay off a private house solar installation.

Are there good solutions?  Probably not. But, people on both sides need to be willing to hear both sides of a situation.  

What do you think?


Posted by Bruce White

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