Tag Archive for 'Earthquakes'

Oklahoma nearly doubles earthquake count of California

Photo retrieved from: www.america.aljazeera.com

“Oklahoma has had nearly double the number of earthquakes as California, local news reported after five earthquakes on Thursday morning rattled an area of the state where oil and gas drilling is prevalent.

While California recorded 88 earthquakes of a magnitude 3.0 or greater this year, 174 of the same intensity have shaken Oklahoma. On Thursday, the region was hit by five quakes with magnitudes higher than 3.0 — the magnitude at which tremors can easily be felt, Oklahoma City’s KOCO news reported.

Whereas California’s quakes are spread throughout the state, seismic activity in Oklahoma is concentrated in the central and northern part of the state — areas where oil and gas drilling, otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, has increased in recent years. In Oklahoma as a whole, drilling doubled between 2009 and 2012.

The rise in oil and gas drilling in the state has paralleled increasing earthquake activity. Previously, the state averaged about one quake per year, but that has increased to at least one a day, KOCO reported.

Seismologists have concluded that fracking — a process where water, sand and chemicals are shot underground at high pressure to release trapped oil and gas deposits — can cause small earthquakes.

At the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting in May, scientists said that underground disposal of vast amounts of wastewater generated by fracking likely induce earthquakes by changing the state of stress on existing faults.”

Read more: Aljazeera America

 

 

Depletion of Central Valley’s groundwater may be causing earthquakes

Photo retrieved from: www.latimes.com

“On Wednesday, a group of scientists offered a new, intriguing theory: The quakes are triggered in part by the pumping of groundwater in the Central Valley, which produces crops that feed the nation.

“These results suggest that human activity may give rise to a gradual increase in the rate of earthquake occurrence,” said the study published in the journal Nature.

Using new GPS data, the scientists found that mountains closest to California’s thirsty Central Valley were growing at a faster-than-expected rate compared to nearby ranges. The growth spurt — about 1 to 3 millimeters a year — was enough to lift them by half a foot over the last 150 years.

Groundwater is very heavy, and its weight depresses the Earth’s upper crust. Remove the weight, and the crust springs upward — and that change in pressure can trigger more small earthquakes, the researchers said.

“It reduces the forces that are keeping the fault clamped together — leading to more small earthquakes during dry periods of time,” said Colin B. Amos, assistant professor of geology at Western Washington University, the study’s lead author.

Other scientists studying a seismically active area of southern Monterey County near Parkfield observed that there tend to be more earthquakes during dry months than during wet months. The number of earthquakes there every year has roughly doubled between 1984 and 2005.

“During wet periods of time when the fault is loaded down, the forces that are keeping the fault clamped down are greater. It inhibits the sliding of the fault,” Amos said.”

Read more: Los Angeles Times

 

Fracking, Seismic Activity Grow Hand in Hand in Mexico

Photo retrieved from: www.ipsnews.net

“Scientists warn that large-scale fracking for shale gas planned by Mexico’s oil company Pemex will cause a surge in seismic activity in northern Mexico, an area already prone to quakes.

Experts link a 2013 swarm of earthquakes in the northern states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León to hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the Burgos and Eagle Ford shale deposits – the latter of which is shared with the U.S. state of Texas.

Researcher Ruperto de la Garza found a link between seismic activity and fracking, a technique that involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into the well, opening and extending fractures in the shale rock to release the natural gas.

“The final result is the dislocation of the geological structure which, when it is pulverised, allows the trapped gas to escape,” the expert with the environmental and risk consultancy Gestoría Ambiental y de Riesgos told IPS from Saltillo, the capital of the northern state of Coahuila.

When the chemicals are injected “and the lutite particles [sedimentary rock] break down, the earth shifts,” he said. “It’s not surprising that the earth has been settling.”

De la Garza drew up an exhaustive map of the seismic movements in 2013 and the gas-producing areas.

His findings, published on Mar. 22, indicated a correlation between the seismic activity and fracking.

Statistics from Mexico’s National Seismological Service show an increase in intensity and frequency of seismic activity in Nuevo León, where at least 31 quakes between 3.1 and 4.3 on the Richter scale were registered.

Most of the quakes occurred in 2013. Of the ones registered this year, the highest intensity took place on Mar. 2-3, according to official records.”

Read more: IPS

 

Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?

 

Photo retrieved from: www.motherjones.com

“But the second one is a little more complicated. Though fracking does cause tiny tremors, the USGS scientists found no links between the process of fracking itself and the larger earthquakes that have been occurring more frequently. They did, however, notice that earthquakes have clustered around wastewater wells in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and neighboring states. Disposing of wastewater by pumping it deep into the ground is standard practice in many industries, including mining, chemical manufacturing, and oil and gas extraction, and the oil and gas industry alone operates tens of thousands of wastewater disposal wells. But the recent surge of fracking activity, which uses millions of gallons of water to crack rock deep in the ground and release natural gas, has boosted the volume of wastewater being injected into the ground.

Stresses are everywhere in the earth’s crust, Ellsworth explains, and drilling activity can affect them. Many wastewater wells actually go deeper than gas drilling wells, reaching an older layer of rock known as basement rock, where stresses and faults are more common. The high pressure used to pump water into waste wells can cause those faults to shift, and the water itself can lubricate already-stressed faults, easing their movement and making an earthquake-causing slip more likely.”

Read more: Mother Jones

 

Feverish Chinese Dam Building Could Trigger Tsunami

Photo retrieved from: www.scientificanamerican.com

“More than 130 large dams that China is building in its western region, an area of high seismicity, are vulnerable to earthquakes or could induce earthquakes, according to a new report released by the Canadian-based environmental group Probe International. In a worst-case scenario, dams could collapse creating a tsunami that would wipe out everything in its path, including downstream dams, and cause untold loss of life and property.

To pierce the Chinese government’s secrecy over its dam-building, the Probe report overlays a Chinese map of dam locations with US Geological Survey earthquake data and a United Nations’ seismic hazard map. Probe also used Google Earth satellite images to confirm the state of completion of about one-half of the dams.

According to the report, 98.6% of the dams being constructed in western China are located in moderate to very high seismic hazard zones. The Zipingpu Dam, for example, which is now thought to have triggered the magnitude 7.9 Sichuan earthquake in 2008 that killed an estimated 80,000 people, was built in a moderate seismic zone. The force of that quake cracked the dam and shook it so severely that it sank one metre and moved 60 centimetres downstream.”

Read more: Probe International

 

At Fault On The Nu River

Photo retrieved from: www.haohaoreport.com

“With the ongoing crisis at its earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan is paying a heavy price for ignoring “large-scale environmental evaluations”. This is the assessment of two prominent Chinese geologists, Xu Daoyi and Sun Wenpeng, who told chinadialogue that the incident holds important lessons for China.

The two experts argue that the Japanese authorities underestimated the potential impact of deep-ocean faults and earthquakes on power plants. As a result, they failed to locate their atomic energy facilities on the country’s less vulnerable west coast and, ultimately, to avoid the radiation crisis the world has watched unfold over the past week.

There are worrying parallels in China, said Xu and Sun. But rather than focusing on the nuclear industry, their gripe is with their country’s hydropower sector – and, more specifically, thecontroversial plans to build a cascade of dams on the Nu River, China’s last great waterway without large-scale hydropower and the focus of an animated public campaign.”

Read more: China Dialogue

 

Oil and Gas Collection: Hydraulic Fracturing, Toxic Chemicals and the Surge of Earthquake Activity in Arkansas

Photo retrieved from: www.globalresearch.ca

“The last four months of 2010, nearly 500 earthquakes rattled Guy, Arkansas. [1]  The entire state experienced 38 quakes in 2009. [2]  The spike in quake frequency precedes and coincides with the 100,000 dead fish on a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River that included Roseville Township on December 30. The next night, 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings dropped dead out of the sky in Beebe. [3]  Hydraulic fracturing is the most likely culprit for all three events, as it causes earthquakes with a resultant release of toxins into the environment. [4]

A close look at Arkansas’ history of earthquakes and drilling reveals a shocking surge in quake frequency following advanced drilling. The number of quakes in 2010 nearly equals all of Arkansas’ quakes for the entire 20th century. The oil and gas industry denies any correlation, but the advent of hydrofracking followed by earthquakes is a story repeated across the nation.  It isn’t going to stop any time soon, either.  Fracking has gone global.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pumps water and chemicals into the ground at a pressurized rate exceeding what the bedrock can withstand, resulting in a microquake that produces rock fractures.”

Read more: Global Research

Massive withdrawal of groundwater may cause earthquake in capital

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina forewarned that earthquake could strike the capital city as the groundwater table here is going down 2-3 meters gradually due to massive withdrawal of the water.

In reply to a question from Nasimul Alam Chowdhury (Comilla-8), she said the subsiding of the underground water level is causing serious damage to geological environment and its balance. Prime Minister’s questions and answers were tabled to facilitate discussion on the President’s New Year address to the parliament. “If water level continues to go down, there is apprehension about natural calamity like earthquake,” she said, apparently referring to the presentiment coming from experts.”

read more: The Daily Star