Does fracking induce earthquakes?

Seismic network coverage in Colorado: 2015 publically accessible seismographs [Source: Colorado Geological Survey]

Seismic network coverage in Colorado: 2015 publicly accessible seismographs. Click on image to enlarge [Source: Colorado Geological Survey]

Yes, but not as much as injection wells.

According to Dr. Rick Aster, Professor of Geophysics and Department Head with the Colorado State University: “An induced earthquake is a seismic events that (to a high degree of certainty) would not have occurred without human influences applied to the surface or subsurface.

“Known ways to induce earthquakes include:

  • Filling of reservoirs, which creates new gravitational loads and/or hydrological conditions.
  • Direct fracturing (fracking) of subsurface rocks with overpressure also produces (small) earthquakes, but this
    process by itself is not a significant seismic hazard issue.
  • Injection and/or withdrawal of fluids (water, CO2, hydrocarbons, brine) into/from the Earth”

At the Energy Advisory Board Meeting on June 4, Dr. Aster gave his presentation:  Induced Seismicity: What it is, Why does it Happen, and What Should We Do About It?

Dr. Aster discussed the Oklahoma earthquakes, what the COGCC is doing to address earthquakes induced by fracking and injection wells and what more can be done, plus questions and answers. Well worth watching, about 1 hour.

Dr. Aster’s presentation and video link are now available online at the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board webpage.

Click here for Dr. Aster’s slideshow presentation: Earthquakes – Natural and Induced

Click here to view the video presentation:  Induced Seismicity: What it is, Why does it Happen, and What Should We Do About It?

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2 Comments on “Does fracking induce earthquakes?”

  1. Bob Arrington Says:

    I asked about faults like Silt’s Thrust Block (from bedrocks up in nature) and he thought it would be good to avoid. I afterward asked him about the point that a river like the Colorado and highways follows major deep faults as a rule of thumb and what about the injection wells lining close proximity of less than a mile. He shook his head in a “no” fashion and related it was not a good idea.

  2. robert dresdner Says:

    US House of Rep. Hearing re Fracking:
    https://archive.org/details/ESF120201

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