Link Between Fracking and Earthquakes Remains Tenuous, Say Experts

By:  Bob Adelmann
Link Between Fracking and Earthquakes Remains Tenuous, Say Experts

Getting an agenda ahead of the evidence when it comes to fracking and earthquakes appears to be par for the course. 

On July 3, Science magazine reported that, using its models in place of data they claimed was unavailable, water flowing from fracking disposal wells in Oklahoma “is potentially responsible for the largest swarm” of earthquakes recently noted in that state. The report, available in full to subscribers only, was immediately picked up by the Los Angeles Times, which said the study confirmed the link between fracking and the earthquakes.

Science, published by the environmentalist group American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has maintained a veneer of credibility for years while promoting the questionable science behind global warming. In December 2006, AAAS adopted an official statement on climate change:

The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society….

The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now.

The present report from Science investigated a “swarm” of more than 100 earthquakes near Oklahoma City over the past five years with a magnitude of 3 or greater on the Richter scale and found that four wells that dispose of wastewater from fracking operations nearby were responsible. One of the researchers, Shemin Ge, a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said that when pressure is applied to force the waste water underground, “the increased pressure can trigger earthquakes in preexisting faults or other areas of geological weaknesses.”

However, the use of models and the phrase “can trigger earthquakes” do not denote unvarnished proof that those wells are the primary cause of those earthquakes. But that didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of Emily Atkin, writing for ClimateProgress, a branch of George Soros’ funded ThinkProgress:

More than 2,500 small earthquakes have hit Oklahoma in the past five years, and nearly all of them can be linked to the process of drilling for oil and gas, according to a recent study published in the journal Science….

The research showed that fluid from those wells were migrating along fault lines for miles … [and] was like responsible for earthquakes occurring as far as 22 miles away.

But then she noted, “The link between earthquakes and wastewater injection from fracking is not definitive.” 

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