Fracking Confirmed as Cause of 3.0 Earthquake

Thursday, January 08, 2015
Seismograph reading of the 3.0 quake (photo: U.S. Geological Survey)

Scientists say hydraulic fracturing caused a series of earthquakes, including one with a magnitude of 3.0, last March in Ohio near the border with Pennsylvania.


A study published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America says fracking near Poland Township triggered a previously undiscovered fault. The result was more than 70 earthquakes ranging in magnitude of 2.1 to 3.0, the latter of which was described as “rare” by the experts.


“These earthquakes near Poland Township occurred in the Precambrian basement, a very

old layer of rock where there are likely to be many pre-existing faults,” Robert Skoumal, co-author of the study, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This activity did not create a new fault, rather it activated one that we didn’t know about prior to the seismic activity.”


Hilcorp Energy, operator of several oil and gas wells in the area, was forced to shut down its drilling after the 3.0 quake.


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the seismologists’ research was consistent with its finding of a “probable” link between fracking and seismic events.


In the fracking process, large quantities of water and toxic fluids are pumped into the ground to release trapped oil or gas.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fracking Confirmed as Cause of Rare “Felt” Earthquake in Ohio (Seismological Society of America)

Study: Fracking Caused Earthquakes In Existing Faults In Ohio (by Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Fracking Blamed for Series of Earthquakes in Texas City (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Ohio Government Confirms Earthquakes Caused by Fracking-Related Injection Wells (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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