Fracking and Dangerous Earthquakes

Does fracking pose earthquake risk?  The question is one which deserves a response from the scientific evidence.  This blog’s support for a pragmatic energy policy has meant that it has reported on scientific research that has the potential for increasing the availability and use of renewable energy sources.  It has also reported on the potential of natural gas as a lower carbon and widely available transition fuel.  At issue in the widely reported comments of Vice President Biden is the question of the scientific evidence for a link between seismic activity and earthquakes.

Consistent with earlier commentaries of this blog about the scientific research associated with fracking, e.g., Scholarly Research and the Dangers of Fracking, we are once again reminded that it is essential for U.S. energy policy to base policy in scientific research.  Scholars have been consistent in their conclusion that fracking is not associated with dangerous earthquakes.

Professor Tim Carr, a geologist from West Virginia University, was reported in the Charleston Daily Mail as admitting that fracking could be responsible for very minor seismic activity, but he sated, “These are much, much less than having a large truck go by. They are measured with sophisticated downhole tools and are used to map fracture stimulation treatments. No one could ever feel or even detect these events at the surface.”

Following minor seismic activity in England, Cuadrilla worked with Keele University and the British Geological Survey (BGS) with the research concluding that shale, which is the type of rock associated with fracking, was so breakable that it does not create enough tension to result in major seismic activity.

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