What’s Up With Drilling and Earthquakes?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/luca_m/3417009427/sizes/m/in/photostream/">luck.m.</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


There has been increasing concern about the potential role of fracking in earthquakes. The worries prompted the the US Geological Survey to look into it, and scientists found that the increase in earthquakes is likely man-made, but probably caused more by wastewater disposal than fracking itself. Now, a fabulous new piece from EnergyWire looks a little more deeply at the wastewater connection.

Reporter Mike Soraghan visited Oklahoma, where state officials are taking their time investigating the connection between the industrial processes and a magnitude-5.6 quake that damaged homes and highways along the Wilzetta Fault last year:

The oil companies that operate the nearby wells say they couldn’t have triggered the quake. But scientists say injection certainly can unleash earthquakes. University of Oklahoma seismologist Katie Keranen, who has been studying the earthquake since the day it happened, says there’s evidence to back up Loveland’s hunch.

“There’s a compelling link between the zone of injection and seismicity,” Keranen said at a seismological conference in April. She’s one of a handful of scientists who see evidence of such a connection.

Like Loveland, people who see potential connections between the quake and drilling activities are resigned rather than resentful. Most seem ready to wait while the state gathers information.

The whole article is an informative read on the state of science and policy when it comes to these quakes.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate