No link between Virginia earthquake and fracking, scientists say

“It’s impossible.”

The Hampton Roads Daily Press reports,

Scientists say there is no link between a controversial natural gas drilling technique and the Virginia earthquake that rattled the East Coast in August.

“Let’s be very clear: fracking did not cause the Virginia earthquake,” said Christopher “Chuck” Bailey, professor and chairman of the geology department at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg…

The nearest active Marcellus wells to the quake’s epicenter in Mineral — about 45 miles northwest of Richmond — are roughly 100 miles away in West Virginia. Bailey and other scientists said those wells could not have induced the 5.8 magnitude temblor.

“It’s impossible,” said David Spears, a geologist with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. “The kinds of pressure required to cause something like that can’t be transmitted over those distances from fracking.”

The power surge from a typical gas frack is small even compared to minor quakes, Spears said. Additionally, there are several fault lines separating West Virginia and Mineral that would prevent the spread of underground tremors, he said…

None of the eight disposal wells in southwestern Virginia accept out-of-state fracking fluid, said Rick Cooper, acting chief of the gas and oil division of the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.

While better known for coal production, the region has produced gas since 1931. Some is obtained from fracking but the technique is different from what’s happening in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Cooper said.

Drillers fracking in Virginia rely mostly on nitrogen — not water — to force gas to the surface, he said. There is some wastewater, but significantly less than what comes out of a typical Marcellus well, he said.

Virginia drillers are allowed to pump wastewater into disposal wells, Cooper said, but there is no evidence that it has led to an increase in seismic activity. Also, he said it could not have migrated to the fault that caused the Mineral quake…

2 thoughts on “No link between Virginia earthquake and fracking, scientists say”

  1. Ohio also has a long, L O N G history of earthquakes that has no connection to fracking. For example

    Ohio Earthquake History

    An earthquake on June 18, 1875, caused damage in western Ohio, and affected a total area estimated at 104,000 square kilometers. Walls were cracked and chimneys thrown down (intensity VII) at Sidney and Urbana. The shock was felt sharply at Jeffersonville, Indiana; the affected area included parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri.

    On March 9, 1943, an earthquake centered east of Cleveland, was felt over a 100,000 square kilometer area, but only caused minor damage at points nearest the epicenter. Reports of cracked plaster and broken windows and dishes (intensity V) were received after the shock. It was noted over a large part of Ohio and in parts of Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada.

    On June 20, 1952, an early morning (3:38 a.m.) tremor awoke most of the people in the Zanesville area. An old chimney was toppled (intensity VI), doors were thrown open, pictures shook, and dished rattled. The earthquake was felt over about 26,000 square kilometers in southeastern Ohio.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/ohio/history.php

  2. Virginia has a long history of damaging earthquakes that occurred before ‘fracking’ was even imagined:
    earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/virginia/history.php

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