Ohio Earthquakes May Be Linked To Fracking


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced a temporary ban on five fracking operations in Ohio after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in Youngstown, Ohio on New Year’s Eve near a fracking site. Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has four seismometers in the area which documented 10 other seismic events which occurred last year within two miles of a hydraulic fracturing, or fracking site. The 10 earthquakes were all 2.7 magnitude or lower.

Won-Young Kim, a research professor of Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University told Reuters that he thinks there may be a link between the earthquakes and fracking. Kim said that data collected from seismographs set up in the area confirm there is a connection between the earthquakes and water pressure at the well.

“We know the depth (of the quake on Saturday) is two miles and that is different from a natural earthquake,” said Kim, who is advising the state of Ohio.

“There is circumstantial evidence to connect the two — in the past we didn’t have earthquakes in the area and the proximity in the time and space of the earthquakes matches operations at the well,” he said.

“We have several examples of earthquakes from deep well disposal in the past,” Kim said.

There are 177 deep wells in Ohio.

Although fracking operations are suspended in the area, earthquakes may still occur. “The earthquakes will trickle on as a kind of a cascading process once you’ve caused them to occur,” John Armbruster of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory said. “This one year of pumping is a pulse that has been pushed into the ground, and it’s going to be spreading out for at least a year.”

Ray Beiersdorfer, a geology professor at Youngstown State University, said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued for a year or so.”

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer said that information obtained from the Columbia University scientists indicates that a 2.7 magnitude earthquake occurred on December 24 about “two miles below and within a mile of the injection site.”

“As a precautionary measure we’ve reached agreement with the well’s owner to halt injections until we are able to further assess and determine any potential links with recent seismic events,” Zehringer said.


Related Stories:

My Water’s On Fire Tonight (Video)

Fracking May Have Caused 50 Earthquakes in Oklahoma

New Zealand Poised to Be the Next Frontier for Fracking


Photo credit: Flickr user, marcellusprotest


Nancy Black
Nancy Black6 years ago

Who cares? In a contest over human life and environment against corporations and their profits, we lose.

Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian6 years ago

Here's another analysis:

First, it notes that the original analysis which linked fracking to the quake actually said that it was the deep wastewater disposal that did it, not the fracking itself. Second, it says that the largest quake ever caused by fracking was ridiculously tiny, and the largest one ever definitely linked to wastewater-disposal was less than a tenth of this one's size. It was a 2.8 while this one was a 4.0 (I got the 4.0 from another source), and the scale is base-10 logarithmic, so the difference was a factor of about 15.8 in energy involved.

Yvonne Fast
Yvonne F6 years ago

Very interesting theory! Sounds logic! Thanks!

George Marshall
George Marshall6 years ago

Doing some research, the name Cheney and Haliburton caught my attention. Also the fact that 'critical information' had been left out of the 2004 EPA report on fracking. The oligarchy - corporations and very powerful people - have again won over the people. Ever watch a movie with John Travolta called Civil Action? Quite frightening what corporations can do.

Janette Chauncey
Jan C6 years ago

Unfortunately it isn't JUST the earthquakes we need to worry about. It is the eventual contamination of some of the most important fresh water sources in the world, such as the Ontario Watershed. Does the term "privatization of water" scare anyone besides me? The damage to ecosystems and native species, the devastation left behind for landowners to clean up (at their own expense), the air pollution and noise created from more industrialization...enough is enough!! Sadly this issue is tearing communities and even families apart in the fight of greed versus environmental consciousness. Greed is the winner in far too many battles, let's hope this one is an exception.

jackie w.
Jackie w6 years ago

This doesn't surprise me. I have wondered even if 'ordinary mining' has some deleterious effect on the Earth eg. earth movement.

Natasha Lopez
Natasha L6 years ago

Ban Fracking!

Mary B.
Mary B6 years ago

Why would anyone with a few wits be surprised that sucking the oil up and making an empty poc marked layer where gravity pushes down, then injecting water down forcefully, cause eathquakes? Why do we trust drilling engineers who come up with this stuff? They are gambling with our eco systems and they have no right. All fracking every where on the planet must be stopped immediately. These oil companies have had ample time to change their ways and they haven't so it's time to pull the plug on them and turn our efforts and money to the clean fuel future.

Dr Clue
Dr Clue6 years ago

As the era of the buggy whip fossil fuel industry pursues it's inevitable end , the means of extracting the last crumbs from the global cupboards will be dirtier . more dangerous, and in the end require ever increasing military violence around the globe.

If we but took half of the monies used to shore up the fossil fuel industry and applied same to evolving that industry's replacement , we could realize a sustainable , clean , profitable and conflict free power industry to drive our economy.

As is ,the clever word craft and crowd science of the incestuous power and war industries will see our demise for but a count of coin.

Marlene C.
Marlene C6 years ago

Thanks .