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Scientists Say Kansas Fracking Tied To Earthquakes

January 22nd, 2015

A geophysicist with the Kansas Geological Survey told reporters that an increase in Kansas fracking activities may have contributed to an increase in earthquakes. Dr. Rick Miller suggested “a strong correlation” between the disposal of waste water from Kansas fracking wells and a series of tremors that have rocked the south-central part of the state. The statement follows closely on reports of four tremors in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma earlier this week.

Kansas Fracking Waste Water Disposal

The increase in Kansas fracking activities stems from how the new drilling technology enables energy companies to reach previously inaccessible oil and natural gas reserves. Fracking, technically known as “hydraulic fracturing”, involves the injection of water, sand and other chemicals at high pressure. These injections break up the rock formations surrounding underground reservoirs of petroleum or natural gas. The leftover fluids are then injected into disposal wells. The KGS report cites these Kansas fracking waste water disposal wells as the culprit behind the area’s earthquakes.

Quakes Rattle Near Kansas Fracking Wells

The areas surrounding the Kansas fracking wells have seen an increase in seismic activity in recent years. The KGS report no sizable tremors in 2012, but the agency recorded more than 120 tremors in 2014. On the morning of January 19, 2015, four quakes took place within minutes of each other. A quake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale occurred near the town of Anthony in Harper County. A smaller quake, measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale, took place just south of the town of Caldwell. All of these quakes happened within a short distance of several Kansas fracking waste water disposal wells.

Sierra Club Wants Kansas Fracking Moratorium

The Kansas chapter of the environmental activist group Sierra Club has called for a moratorium on Kansas fracking activities. Joe Spease, chairman of the Kansas Sierra Club’s fracking committee, stated that the group wants to see a bill that would stop all Kansas fracking well exploration pending an investigation into the technology’s environmental consequences. Mr. Spease cited the “millions of dollars in property damages” from the earthquakes and decried the “issue of semantics” and “scientists playing word games” over whether fracking activities are directly to blame.

Sources: Wichita Eagle, Fox News

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