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Seismic Shifts
Fracking Earthquakes, Part V: Shale Shaking
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  • CaliforniaStark

    Hydroelectric dams and coal mining have also been linked to earthquakes. As example, there are studies that indicate variations in the reservoir water level of Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam result in earthquakes.

    Since wastewater has been proposed as a major cause of earthquakes associated with fracking, it might be time for the industry move to waterless fracking using LPG or propane gel, CO2, or liquid nitrogen instead of water. The technology for each alternative already exists. It would also preserve increasingly scarce water resources for other uses.

  • Fat_Man

    A 3.0 is miniscule. “Often felt by people, but very rarely causes damage. Shaking of indoor objects can be noticeable.”

    Ohio is not California. There are no active faults created by tectonic action. Any faults are fossilized and not under significant strain.

  • Boritz

    “In this case, it seems more research needs to be devoted to seismic mapping of shale formations and their surroundings.”

    Of course. In parallel with on-going fracking operations.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Is this really a problem or a benefit? It seems to me releasing stress before it builds to the point of a major earthquake is a good thing. Earthquake prone areas like California should look into this as a method of triggering lots of small earthquakes instead of getting a big one that causes Billions of Dollars in damage and kills dozens or hundreds of people. Bug or Feature? I’m going to go with Feature.

    • Y.K.

      My limited understanding is that ‘releasing stress’ is too simple a model, since:

      A) Small earthquakes do not necessarily release stress at all places, but can reduce it somewhere and add some somewhere else.
      B) The energy taken by a small earthquake is orders of magnitude lower than the big earthquakes we want to avoid.

      C) A drill large enough (much larger than fracking requires) to releasing these big stresses can trigger a small or a large quake. Do we know enough to control it?

      I suspect that If one knew exactly where to drill, and used exactly the right methods than drilling to mitigate earthquake might be doable (I didn’t say practical or unexpensive). It’s probably not the same as the right place for oil drilling though and would require much more water/energy usage than a ‘small’ oil well due to the energy levels.

  • FriendlyGoat

    We’re not going to know how much of an effect this has until we just keep monitoring the effects. Needless to say, anyone who sustains damage is going to have a hard time recovering compensation.

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