Research Links Texas Earthquakes with Fracking

A team of researchers with Southern Methodist University looked at recent bursts of seismic activity in north Texas and found that, as some had suspected, the quakes could be linked to fracking injection wells.

“Because there were no known previous earthquakes, and the located events were close to the two injection wells and near the injection depth, the possibility exists that earthquakes may be related to fluid injection,” authors of the study wrote.

Researchers specifically focused on a string of earthquakes that occurred near Cleburne, Texas during 2009 and 2010. Before 2008, there had never been an earthquake in the Fort Worth Basin of Texas. In 2005, wastewater started being pumped into injection wells in Cleburne.

The process of fracking creates wastewater – a toxic cocktail of chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive substances. Of course, this toxic waste needs a place to go once the fracking process is complete. Some wastewater ends up in holding ponds, but some is disposed of deep underground.

In July, a paper published in the journal Science associated a 2011 earthquake in Prague, Oklahoma with wastewater injection as well. The Prague earthquake is the largest quake to be linked with fracking wells, and was also deemed an initiating trigger for another quake.

In Youngstown, Ohio last year, a 4.0 magnitude earthquake occurred shortly after wastewater disposal began at a nearby injection well. Scientists quickly determined the cause was the disposal of wastewater from a fracking operation, Scientific American reports.

Last year, the US Geological Survey (USGS) found that, at some locations, the increase in frequency of earthquakes coincided with underground wastewater injection. They note that the number of earthquakes in the central and eastern US has increased considerably over the last few years.

“More than 300 earthquakes above a magnitude 3.0 occurred in the three years from 2010-2012, compared with an average rate of 21 events per year observed from 1967-2000,” a USGS report states.

Just last month, north Texas experienced another string of powerful earthquakes, 15 in one month. Many believe that the quakes are due to fracking wastewater injection processes.

“I’d say it certainly looks very possible that the earthquakes are related to injection wells,” Dr. Cliff Frolich, Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist with the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas, said in an interview.

Alisha is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @childoftheearth.

About the Author

  • Trending Videos

    Bernie Sanders' Populism Is Catching the Political World On Fire

    Donald Trump May Put The Final Nail In The GOP’s Coffin

    Jeb Made Millions By Bankrupting Florida Pension Funds

    It’s Time For Republicans To Realize Just How Disgusting They Are

    Click for More ROF Videos
  • Free Speech TV

    Bernie’s Right On With Women's Rights

    The Border Security Billionaires

    The Rise Of The Neocons

    It’s Time To Wake Up — No More Shootings

    Click for More Free Speech TV
Tonight on Free Speech TV

Tonight on Free Speech TV

Tonight’s Ring of Fire, hosted by Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins: Weeknights at 8:30pm Eastern on Free Speech TV. Live stream available on our YouTube page. Heather Gautney, Associate Professor of Sociology at Fordham University, will tell us why Bernie Sanders might be the best candidate to [...]

This Week on The Ring of Fire Radio

This Week on The Ring of Fire Radio

This week’s Ring of Fire Radio, hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Sam Seder: Saturdays at 3 o’clock Eastern, rebroadcasts Sunday nights at 8 pm Eastern: Author and journalist David Bromwich will tell us what’s happening with the nuclear agreement with Iran. Attorney Tim Beck[...]

Search Our Site

Our Social Media

Copyright © 2015, Ring of Fire Radio, LLC and The Ring of Fire, LLC