A magnitude 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma has brought fresh attention to the practice of disposing oil and gas field wastewater deep underground.
The United States Geological Survey said the quake happened at 7.02am on Saturday, in north-central Oklahoma, on the fringe of an area where regulators had stepped in to limit wastewater disposal.
The shallow quake struck nine miles northwest of Pawnee, where there were no immediate reports of injuries. Damage in the town appeared to be minor.
An increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma that are magnitude 3.0 or greater has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production.
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Geologists in Oklahoma have documented links between increased seismic activity in the state and the injection of wastewater from oil and gas production into the ground, according to a report from the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
Although the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", also generates large amounts of wastewater, the report said fracking is responsible for only a small percentage of the total volume of injected wastewater.
The largest earthquake ever recorded in Kansas—a 4.9 magnitude temblor that struck northeast of Milan on Nov. 12, 2014—has been officially linked to wastewater injection into deep underground wells, according to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The epicenter of that extremely rare earthquake struck near a known fracking operation.
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The USGS scientists believe that the 4.9-magnitude earthquake was triggered by wastewater injection for the following reasons:
There had not previously been similar earthquakes in the area.
There were waste-water injection wells nearby.
The earthquake activity started after the amount of water injected in the wells increased.
Let's just say that I don't find the Right's automatic rejection of the conclusions / opinions / determinations of anyone who has an education as being rather ridiculous. People who dedicate years of study and effort to becoming experts in a particular field would, one can expect, to have a better informed view of topics within that field.
Certainly more than the average opinionated forum participant.
By all means be (honestly) critical and keep 'em honest, but outright rejection is an absurd posture.
In the case of fracking, unless you are, say, a hydro-geologist / engineer, why would your opinion mean squat to anyone?