June 18, 2012

Fracking and earthquakes

The fracking and earthquakes conversation has a lot of dimensions. I had a lot of questions about the DSGEIS fumbling the information on faults that was available. I was less concerned, though, with fracking causing earthquakes that with the other issues that earthquakes and faults can create around fracking sites.

It's looking more and more like it's not so much taking the gas out that causes earthquakes, but injecting liquids back into a well. Drilling new wells is less likely to create seismic shifts than using old wells as dumping grounds for wastewater from new wells, or similar approaches to storing material underground.

Those are the conclusions of a new report out from the National Research Council, and I'm amused to see the Ithaca Journal headline their article Report: Don't worry about quakes and fracking. Meanwhile, Scientific American goes with Fracking Can Cause Earthquakes, but So Can Oil and Gas Extraction.

Somehow BoingBoing - bloggers with a crazy site name, right? - seem to have the most accurate title: Fracking and earthquakes: The real risk is injecting liquid underground.

That means that disposing of fracking wastes is going to be a lot more difficult, and so are some other hoped-for projects like carbon sequestration.

Posted by simon at June 18, 2012 12:24 PM in , ,
Note on photos