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Friday, July 4, 2014

Earthquakes linked to fracking wastewater wells, Cornell study says

"Scientists have, for the first time, linked hundreds of earthquakes across a broad swath of Oklahoma to a handful of wastewater wells used by the fracking industry. The research, published in the journal Science on Thursday, said about one-fifth of the quakes that helped turn Oklahoma into the earthquake capital of America were caused by just four wells. Oklahoma has had about 240 magnitude 3.0 or higher earthquakes just since the start of the year. The state now has twice the number of 3.0 earthquakes as California. Before 2008, when the oil and gas boom got underway, the state averaged about one a year.

The researchers from Cornell University and other institutions traced a large number of earthquakes through 2012 to just four wells, south-east of Oklahoma city. Those wells were pumped with significantly higher volumes of fracking wastewater and chemicals than the thousands of other disposal wells in the state. The findings were the first to show such waste wells can trigger earthquakes up to 40kms away from the injection site. They are bound to further deepen the controversy surrounding fracking, which has vastly expanded America's oil and natural gas production, but with rising consequences for health, safety and the environment."

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/03/oklahoma-earthquakes-fracking-waste-water-wells

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/07/02/science.1255802