Do fracking operations cause earthquakes?

Yes. Studies are beginning to emerge as to the connection between the specific act of hydraulically fracturing shale deposits and earthquakes. These studies focus on the near certainty that artificially created fractures and fissures would naturally destabilize adjoining natural faults.

However, studies have concluded that the high-pressure re-injection storage wells used for fracking flowback fluids are connected to earthquakes and what are now termed fracking “earthquake swarms” (clusters of low-intensity earthquakes).

In the ’60’s and ’70’s, the Colorado Geological Survey conducted experiments injecting fluid under pressure under the ground. Not only were they able to trigger earthquakes, but they were able to control, to turn the earthquakes off and on, by manipulating flows and pressures. So it has long been apparent that the exact process used by frackers in fracking operations and storage could reasonably lead to earthquake activity.

(Sources: / Institute of Geophysics, University of Texas, Austin) 


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