Hey Oklahomans! Have you noticed that the ground you’re standing on has been a bit shakier than it used to be? Well you can thank fracking for that. Studies show that since oil and gas companies started using fracking to extract the resources of your state the number of quakes, shakes and rumbles under your collective feet has increased exponentially.
Fracking (the technical term is hydraulic fracturing) is the practice of injecting highly pressurized water into the ground creating fractures through which trapped oil and natural gas can be extracted. In a recent issue of Science Magazine, a group of University and government geologists presented their findings on the connection between fracking and earthquakes, using seismic and fluid models to support their claims.
Since 2008, Oklahoma has experienced more than 2,500 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher. Before 2008 the state recorded an average of one earthquake of that magnitude per year. Geoffrey Abers of Cornell University remarked on the sheer number of quake events.
“It is really unprecedented to have this many earthquakes over a broad region like this . . . you might see little swarms but nothing really this distributed and this persistent.”
The geologists were able to link the quakes back to four fracking sites near Oklahoma City. All of the recorded quakes occurred in the same area – near the town of Jones.