Earthquakes Fracking Connection Questioned

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Tuesday September 17, 2013

A small earthquake felt by some residents in and around Bluff City Saturday raising questions whether there could be a connection between fracking by the oil industry and earth tremors.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the Harper County earthquake was a magnitude 2.8.

Bluff City resident Robin Struble says, "It sounded like a rumble and you felt the chair move. And we just kind of wondered what it was. We started looking around trying to figure it out."

The interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey, Rex Buchanan, says fracking's not to blame. Buchanan says, "Hydraulic fracturing, per se, is not related to any earthquake activity or seismic activity. Fracking does create very small earthquakes in the deep sub-surface but those are so small they generally don't register on the kind of instrumentation we use to record earthquakes."

Columbia University researchers did find what they believe is a direct connection between seismic tremors near Youngstown, Ohio and oil fracking there. It was discovered the oil well was drilling directly over a fault line and injecting water at a rate of 1,300 gallons an hour.

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