A series of Ohio earthquakes were caused by fracking according to State officials. Tough new laws will regulate drilling and disposal of waste.*
The 5.6 earthquake which struck Oklahoma in late 2011 was the latest in a string of 'rare' earthquakes shaking the normally geologically quiet interior or North America.
These previously unusual events are raising fresh concerns that the use of fracking and the disposal of fracking fluids may be causing the quakes.
Fracking is the fracturing of layers of rock with high pressure fluids to release pockets of trapped gas and oil. Increases in energy prices and Bush era deregulation has led to a wide use of this technique with thousands of new wells brought on line in the past few years.
This proliferation in fracking has coincided with numerous earthquakes in unusual locations. Recent studies indicate that culprit may actually be the disposal wells. Fracking produces lots of waste fluid which is collected and injected at high pressures into disposal wells.
Earthquakes caused by this type of wells is not the paranoid imaginings of environmental zealots. In this recent report, the Oklahoma Geological Survey studied a swarm of earthquakes in Garvin County, OK in January of this year, which began within hours of a new and deep hydro-fracturing project nearby.
The Geological Survey stopped short of definitively blaming the earthquakes on the fracking operation, but noted
"...The strong correlation in time and space as well as a reasonable fit to a physical model suggest that there is a possibility these earthquakes were induced by hydraulic-fracturing."Typically, the report concludes that it is impossible to say definitely if the quakes were caused by fracking, but other locations hit by anomalous quakes are satisfied they have enough proof.
In June of this year, Cuadrilla Resources was forced to suspend its' fracking operation after it admitted it caused a swarm of earthquakes in normally seismically peaceful northwest England.