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Where water goes after fracking is tied to earthquake risk

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IMAGE: THIS IS AN AERIAL VIEW OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OPERATIONS ACROSS THE JONAH FIELD, A LARGE NATURAL GAS FIELD IN WYOMING.

 

CREDIT: ECOFLIGHT

In addition to producing oil and gas, the energy industry produces a lot of water, about 10 barrels of water per barrel of oil on average. New research led by The University of Texas at Austin has found that where the produced water is stored underground influences the risk of induced earthquakes.

Beyond supporting the link between water disposal and induced seismicity, the research also describes factors that can help reduce earthquake risk.

"If we want to manage seismicity, we really need to understand the controls," said lead author Bridget Scanlon, a senior research scientist at UT's Bureau of Economic Geology.

The research was published Oct. 31 in the journal Seismological Research Letters. Co-authors include Matthew Weingarten, assistant professor at San Diego State University; Kyle Murray, adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma; and Robert Reedy, research scientist associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology. The bureau is a research unit at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/uota-wwg110118.php

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      “Shallow hydraulic fracturing is surprisingly common, especially in the western U.S.,” Jackson said. “Here in California, half of the wells are fracked shallower than about 2,000 feet.”
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      “Communities have never argued that every well goes bad; they’ve argued that when you drill and [are] fracking thousands, too many go bad,” he said. “For those living on groundwater, it becomes a matter of luck, and that’s not right, because over years, more and more people’s luck runs out.”
      Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500
      Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fracking-can-contaminate-drinking-water/

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