All These Little Fracking Earthquakes Could Lead to Something Bigger

February 17th 2015

Alicia Lutes

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, U.S. Geological Survey scientist William Ellsworth has stated that the small, fracking-related earthquakes that have recently hit in places like Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, and other states across the country indicates a much larger one happening in the future is pretty likely. Still so sure about the hydraulic fracturing of the earth to siphon oil from ground sand?

In case you need a primer on fracking, ATTN has written one here

Though Ellsworth stated we should not "expect a large earthquake [from fracking] tomorrow," he argued that "the more small earthquakes we have, it just simply increases the odds we're going to have a more damaging event [in the future]." 

But here are the facts: fracking — and its use of wastewater injection to release oil — have been linked to nearly all of the 2,500 earthquakes that have occurred in Oklahoma during the last five years and 400 in Ohio. And that includes the 3.0 magnitude quake felt in Ohio in 2014. According to that particular study's co-author Robert Skoumal, it was one of "the largest earthquakes ever induced by hydraulic fracturing in the United States."

By fracking and utilizing the dangerous methods to extract oil from the earth, we're causing a veritable maelstrom underneath the surface to which the consequences to humans are not known. That is, if we're being frank, a terrifying place to be and a cautionary tale if we've ever heard one. 

The evidence is clear: nationally, this country has experienced an average of 100, 3.0 or higher magnitude earthquakes yearly from 2010 to 2012. Compare this to the mere 21 we saw each year between 1967 and 2000, and perhaps it's more imminent than ever we invest in some new energy sources.