Scientists in Alberta, Canada are saying they have discovered a direct link between earthquakes and the oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
For years, geologists have suspected a fracking connection with earthquakes in Canada, the United States and Britain.
Now Canadian researchers said their research can remove any doubt – at least for one specific area.
CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports.
Canadian report finds link between fracking, earthquakes in local areaFor years, geologists have suspected a fracking connection with earthquakes in Canada, the United States and Britain.Now Canadian researchers said their research can remove any doubt – at least for one specific area.CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports.
The prairies of northwest Alberta have been trembling, ever since energy companies started fracking here. And Canadian scientists argue that’s no coincidence.
They found a direct cause and effect between fracking and a specific series of quakes that started in December 2013. Geophysicists from the University of Calgary just published their evidence in Science-one the world’s foremost scientific journals.
The analysis conclusively links earthquakes near the town of Fox Creek, Alberta to a nearby fracking operation. There were no recorded quakes in the area before the fracking started.
According to the study’s co-author, David Eaton from University of Calgary Researcher, the fundamental features observed here can be generally applied in other place: the process-injecting water, sand and chemicals into rocks under high pressure.
The Canadian scientists said it caused an undetected fault to “slip”, triggering a series of earthquakes that continued months after the fracking stopped.
Another researcher David Eaton hopes that the research will help the oil and gas industry and its regulators to design ways to limit the risks.
Eaton said quakes in the U.S. state of Oklahoma were caused by another process, injecting wastewater from oil production into rocks that are different from the ones in Alberta.
Industry advocates said it’d be a mistake to use the results of the Canadian study to block new fracking operations in the U.S.
Eaton now plans to study why fracking affects Western Canada differently than it does the American Midwest.
Anthony R Ingraffea discusses hydraulic fracturing
Laws have been passed recently in the U.S. which force companies to reveal what chemicals they use for fracking. Given that, how much do we still not know about fracking and its impacts? To learn more about it, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke with Anthony R Ingraffea, founder & fmr president of PSE Healthy Energy.