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Minor Quakes In the UK Likely Caused By Fracking

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the bsg-fans-confused dept.

Earth 318

Stirling Newberry writes "Non-conventional extraction of hydrocarbons is the next wave of production, including natural gas and oil – at least according to its advocates. One of the most controversial of the technologies being used is hydraulic fracture drilling, or 'fracking.' Energy companies have been gobbling up Google ad words to push the view that the technology is 'proven' and 'safe,' while stories about the damage continue to surface. Adding to the debate are two small tremors in the UK — below 3.0, so very small – that were quite likely the result of fracking there. Because the drilling cracks were shallow, this raises concerns that deeper cracks near more geologically active areas might lead to quakes that could cause serious damage."

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Happy November from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934746)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy November from the Golden Girls! (0)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934912)

Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

I believe the word you are looking for there is confidant...

Re:Happy November from the Golden Girls! (0)

Denogh (2024280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935024)

Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

I believe the word you are looking for there is confidant...

I disagree.

Re:Happy November from the Golden Girls! (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935250)

Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

I believe the word you are looking for there is confidant...

Is that you Yuri? I disagree.

British Porn (0)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934804)

I've seen British porn, and it was by no means earth moving.

Re:British Porn (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935280)

That's because we consider sex a participant activity, not a spectator activity.

Re:British Porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935900)

Just wait until you mix the two. BAZINGA!

I hope UK Regulates better than TX and USA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934808)

Here in Texas, Rick Perry encourages gas companies to poison the air and water. He calls it buttfucking the EPA or something equally rediculous, but we all know he's just making pollution more cost effective for his buddies.

Of course his predecessor, George W Bush exempted fracking from the clean air act and clean water act.. You know.. so gas companies can poison the whole country.

Republicans.. life begins at conception, but is worthless at birth.

-Asthmatic American

I, for one... (-1)

Zondar (32904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934816)

welcome our new tremor overlords

Re:I, for one... (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935712)

welcome our new tremor overlords

Underlords?

UK? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934828)

"So, my love, did the Earth move for you as well?"
"Frack yeah!"

However, if fracking would have caused a minor quake anywhere, I would have thought it would have been in the US, because of the rampant obesity. Maybe it's all in the rhythm.

Re:UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935022)

It did. we had a quake in the dc/va/md area, that shook everything, caused houses to fall. it originally came from virginia, where they do a lot of fracking. no, we don't get earthquakes usually.

Re:UK? (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935152)

Never Forget! [forgetfoo.com]

It's perfectly safe (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934840)

if you're rich enough to live far away from it. Frankly I don't see the problem.

Re:It's perfectly safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935198)

Frakly I don't see the problem.

Fixed to reflect the realities of the situation. Let's hope for the more gentle approach when deep drilling of the cracks commences.

Groundwater (4, Informative)

vossman77 (300689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934888)

Not to mention its potential impact on local groundwater:

http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/index.cfm [epa.gov]

Re:Groundwater (1, Interesting)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935006)

There's a difference between "potential" and "actual". IIRC (and please correct me if I'm wrong), there has yet to be a case where fracking has actually been shown to have impacted groundwater, despite the claims of the local population. This is likely because the oil/gas companies do lots of environmental studies before they even start drilling--they don't just start punching holes in the ground willy-nilly.

Re:Groundwater (3, Interesting)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935046)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRZ4LQSonXA [youtube.com] This isn't what I had in mind when I asked for 'firewater'

Re:Groundwater (2)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935124)

And you believe it's all because of natural gas drilling. Sucker.

Re:Groundwater (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935174)

You buy the gas company's self serving story?

Do you always believe the world's sleaziest and most obvious liars?

Re:Groundwater (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935722)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRZ4LQSonXA [youtube.com]

This isn't what I had in mind when I asked for 'firewater'

The movie Gas Land has been discredited and this particular water source had Nat gas in it BEFORE fracking began. They are called hissing wells; water wells that are also souces of nat gas. If anything Fracking will improve the water source since it is removing the nat gas. Peddle your propaganda elsewhere.

Re:Groundwater (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935122)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/fracking-methane-flammable-drinking-water-study_n_859677.html

Re:Groundwater (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935320)

My brother in law works on a rig. Last month his crew got a hammerbit stuck in the hole. They pumped hundreds of barrels of "soap" and water into the hole to try to free it. This well was communicating with others which started to leak this fluid. So now you have gas wells that are 50 years old pumping lubricating fluid instead of gas. Since that is another company, they will likely get sued. Had it been a water well they homeowner might not have the resources to do that. They ended up using explosives to free the pipe but they lost the bit and a few collars. The rig started to sink due to the vast amount of fluid pumped into the ground. How much environmental study was involved in all that?

Re:Groundwater (1)

MikeyC01 (231948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935344)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1640843/ [imdb.com]

But it happened on CSI so in the majority's view, of course it has happened! ;)

Re:Groundwater (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935696)

Of course, there are parts of the world where people routinely fire automatic weapons into the sky in celebration. Those bullets all have to land somewhere and there's a potential for that somewhere to be a kid's head. Does it actually happen often? I'll be honest, I don't know, it's not relevant to my point. The point I'm making is that, until one of those bullets falls into one of their own kids' skulls, the guys firing the guns don't care about the potential for it to happen, just like you don't seem to care about the potential damage we're doing to a required resource.

Oh sure, they can angle their guns away from occupied areas, but that doesn't stop the winds hundreds of feet above from carrying the bullets back into the crowd. Likewise, a series of environmental studies can indicate that there is enough soft earth between the rock being fracked and the rock surrounding the water supply, but that doesn't stop the shockwave from fracking one rock from traveling through that soft earth, right to a weak spot or crack in those rocks acting as a barrier/container for the water supply. What happens then?

Yes, everything can look solid from the surface; shallow digging can only show us the outer surface of the rock, sonogram, and x-ray can only give us a top-down view. There may be faults below the surface that can only be noticed from other angles, from which we can not observe; in fact, it is much more likely that we would miss a fault and it is that we would notice it, simply given the fact that there are many more angles from which we can NOT examine the subject than there are angles from which we can.

If you still don't care about the potential damage, I've got a bridge to sell you. Don't worry, I'm only potentially scamming you, it hasn't been proven yet.

Re:Groundwater (0)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935572)

Earthquakes have been happening for millions of years without fracking. Did the dinosaurs frak to create Earthquakes and tectonic plate movement back then? If not, then humans couldn't possibly be causing earthquakes due to fraking now. It's just simple logic! I guess the scientists involved in this research are just looking to get rich.

Oops, this isn't about climate research, so my troll science post won't get modded up.

Re:Groundwater (1)

theronb (1170573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935670)

Oh, good - I see Halliburton is one of the big players. That just gives a warm, cozy feeling that we're in good hands!

Even with a major earthquake (4, Interesting)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934894)

Even with a major earthquake occurring because of "fracking" it's a non-issue compared to the damage done to the water table by the chemicals used in the process, toxic for centuries afterwards.

Re:Even with a major earthquake (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935380)

So, you're a global quaking denier?

Re:Even with a major earthquake (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935788)

EVEN WITH A MAJOR EARTHQUAKE OCCURING because of "fracking" it's a non-issue compared to the damage done to the water table by the chemicals used in the process, toxic for centuries afterwards.

Re:Even with a major earthquake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935630)

Even with a major earthquake occurring because of "fracking" it's a non-issue compared to the damage done to the water table by the chemicals used in the process, toxic for centuries afterwards.

Fracking occurs thousands of feet below the water table, just FYI

Re:Even with a major earthquake (4, Informative)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935682)

Gas reserves are far below water tables in complete different strata...five thousand to 20,000 feet, far , far deeper than any aquifer.

But you keep drinking that Kool Aid.

Re:Even with a major earthquake (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935830)

Yea, 'cause you don't have to drill through that first, and there's no chance that raising the pressure below could force things just under the water table up into it.

It might not be as bad as 'the sky is falling' folks claim, but it isn't good either.

Re:Even with a major earthquake (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935838)

And you keep drinking the water, apparently back pressure and crack seepage are concepts lost on your "intellect".

Interesting idea: (1, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934898)

What about doing something like fracking, except using non-toxic chemicals, for the purpose of intentionally causing minor earthquakes to release the stress that would otherwise lead to a big one? I bet many Pacific Rim countries would be interested in gradually defusing major earthquakes...

Re:Interesting idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935032)

Please, just shut up. I blushed after reading this post. I shouldn't be in the same forum as retard like you.

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935070)

Then by all means, leave ^_^

Re:Interesting idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935116)

You know, if you had some social skills you could have a girlfriend right now.

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935378)

Do not give the trolls breeding advice.

Re:Interesting idea: (0)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935158)

Yeah maybe the only thing worse than a bad idea (which I'm not so sure it was bad) is someone that squashes without a moments consideration of said idea.

"Galileo Galilei: I think the Sun is the center not the Earth"
"Religious Right: Please, just shut up. I blushed after reading this manuscript. I shouldn't be in the same World as retard like you"

See what I mean?

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935794)

The parent is called a troll. What you're doing is called feeding the trolls.

It is usually advised to not feed the trolls.

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

tunabomber (259585) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935132)

I was thinking the same thing. I think the main problem with this would be the legal issues. Unlike a controlled burn or avalanche control work, it would be very hard to predict the duration, magnitude and scale of the quakes being released. Just releasing the earthquake in the first place would be hard, and if you finally score and manage to release a lot of tectonic pressure, you wouldn't want to be the one that everyone could point to as the source of the resulting damage.

Project Stormfury [wikipedia.org] ran into the same issues: difficult to predict whether it works, but assuming it does work, you're an easy blame target for things that are most likely Mother Nature's mistakes rather than your own.

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935136)

Whilst those earthquakes were relatively small in a global sense, they aren't that small for a country that is not straddling any major fault lines. If I was living somewhere near the San Andreas fault, I probably wouldn't want someone fracking anywhere near by. A small earthquake there, would probably be a few orders of magnitude larger than the largest earth quakes we can get here in the UK.

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935164)

I think the problem with this is that earthquakes are normally caused by sudden movement of plates. Fracking doesn't do anything to relieve that pressure. All it will do is create more minor earthquakes.

Re:Interesting idea: (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935232)

It's been theorized and even tried. (Although that's really an entirely different process. Fracking causes earthquakes by shifting the ground. What you are talking about is trying to let the ground shift in a more controlled manner.)

The problem is you are just making it easier for the stress to be released. That doesn't guarantee smaller earthquakes as a result...

Re:Interesting idea: (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935868)

Well, yes it does. For the quake to occur naturally, more energy will need to be applied in order to overcome the static friction. If you lower the static friction threshold, the plates act without adding the additional energy that more time and tectonic activity would build on behind it.

The problem is that the energy already there to be released might already be bad news. It's still better news than waiting, though.

Quake in DC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934906)

My guess is this also caused the quake earlier this year in Washington DC.

Re:Quake in DC (2)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935148)

Your guess is based on ignorance and fear. Thanks for remaining anonymous so no one would goof on your unscientific beliefs.

Re:Quake in DC (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935416)

First off, it wasn't a DC quake, it was a Mineral, VA quake that was felt in DC. Second, there is a history of earthquakes in the area dating back to colonial times. Third, there was no fracking going on in the area.

Releasing pent up energy (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934910)

The energy for the earthquake is already there, so if anything, fracking *prevents* large earthquakes.

However, if you're killed by a 5.x quake that wouldn't have released a 9.x until 100 years after your normal lifespan, Do you care?

Re:Releasing pent up energy (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934986)

I never thought of England as an earthquake zone. Also my understanding is that fracking causes earthquakes by collapse of underground layers whereas normal earthquakes as caused by sudden movements of tectonic plates. Not exactly the same thing.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (1, Insightful)

phayes (202222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935322)

Sigh, yet another "The SKY IS FALLING" story from the clueless.

The micro-fractures plus the injection of water, sand & detergents used by fracking are making small stress relieving adjustments (earthquakes) possible.

It's just what we would need to eliminate major earthquakes. Unfortunately the geology of earthquake zones & that where fracking can be useful to recover recover otherwise unavailable gas do not overlap so it will never happen as a beneficial side effect of commercial fracking.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935326)

Subsidance is not the same as an earthquake.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935516)

You are crushing or liquifying rocks. Mud causes buildings, tectonic plates and such or move easier.

Wait until a major earthquake hits the unprepared NYC/Washington DC area. DC had a small earthquake and it caused some damage. I would bet it is due to all the fracking in the neighboring states.

This has been seen with oil drilling as well in some places.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934994)

You're on the right track. To quote the article: In the case of the Cuadrilla site, the report stated, this occurred near an already-stressed fault. The fluid spread over a period of 10 hours after injection and caused the quakes.

It's just that those that are against fracking are gonna use this a scare tactic.

The same concerns over tainted water tables, etc. have been raised when oil drilling was beginning in the mid 1800s.

Each environment is different and requires a case by case study to determine if fracking is indeed "bad" to the environment, but at the same time, to know all of this we need to continue to frack the trapped gas/oil.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935010)

There's no guarantee that the energy released by fracking would have been released by a later earthquake. That's like saying the only way to disassemble an automobile is by crashing it into a wall and 200 mph.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (1)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935138)

Not quite getting the analogy. Are you saying that an earthquake is like crashing a car into a wall at 200 mph whereas fracking is like carefully disassembling a car piece by piece? Why wouldn't you want to do it the careful less damaging way (excluding other factors like contamination, which is outside the bounds of the analogy)?

Re:Releasing pent up energy (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935364)

Why wouldn't you want to do it the careful less damaging way (excluding other factors like contamination, which is outside the bounds of the analogy)?

Because it makes money for EVIL OIL COMPANIES!

Re:Releasing pent up energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935038)

Don't talk crap.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935066)

However, if you're killed by a 5.x quake that wouldn't have released a 9.x until 100 years after your normal lifespan, Do you care?

How could you care? You're dead!

Re:Releasing pent up energy (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935108)

I'm clueless in these matters but trying to read up on it mostly lands me on activist sites that extoll the evils that is inherent to fracking and sources that don't really go into detail as to what causes the earthquakes, etc.

So my basic question would be, in relationship to your statement, whether fracking condenses the release of that potential energy.

I.e. if the energy is in the shale, does it actually build up to one big quake, or does it continually get released in a multitude of earthquakes of magnitudes that are barely worth registering - and fracking simply causes those multitudes of earthquakes to happen 'at once' thus resulting less frequent earthquakes of larger magnitude?

Re:Releasing pent up energy (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935330)

However, if you're killed by a 5.x quake that wouldn't have released a 9.x until 100 years after your normal lifespan, Do you care?

Not any more.

Re:Releasing pent up energy (2)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935650)

You are right. The headline should say it triggered an earthquake not caused.

I've suggested lubricating fault lines as a means to eliminate earthquakes. I am a mechanical engineer and earthquakes are a variation of a type of movement known as stick slip. It happens where you have seals like pistons. You have a static coefficient of friction much higher than the dynamic. So force and energy is stored up in your system trying to overcome the static friction. Once it starts moving the system lurches rapidly releasing the energy. They key to getting rid of it is reducing the friction. Better seals like Teflon can help as can lubrication in some applications.

If you pumped a slurry mixture into a fault line and keep pressure on it it will cause it to slip. We can't prevent the stress from building but we can control the release. The only trouble is the first time you release the energy you have no idea how it will behave. This should be studied in remote places like Alaska where there are plenty of fault lines and not much population that would be affected.

Not Even Peer Reviewed (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934914)

Really Slashdot? You could not wait until at least peer review?

"The report is now entering peer review. "We want it to subjected to maximum scrutiny; it's not in Cuadrilla's interest to discover a problem down the road," Smith says."

Re:Not Even Peer Reviewed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935142)

Really Slashdot? You could not wait until at least peer review?

Why wait for peer review when Slashdot can collect lots of emotion-fueled clicks for ad revenue!

RTFA? Not unless you pay (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935358)

Really Slashdot? You could not wait until at least peer review?

By the time an article gets peer-reviewed, it's often put under a paywall.

Quakes are going to happen. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934930)

It is not a question of 'if' there will be quakes.. it is only a question of 'when' there will be quakes. Energy is continually building up in the ground and every once in awhile the stresses are too great. The potential increases over time.

We manage potential in other areas, such as lighting forest fires and burning off brush before the potential problem grows too great.

Couldn't it be said that fracking will, at worst, cause an impending quake to happen sooner and thus it will have less potential?

Ignorance out in full force again... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934954)

Oy. Both the EPA and GWPC have said that there is no proven link between fracking and contaminated groundwater. 99% of what is sent into the earth is plain, non-potable water. The other 1% is made up of various chemicals of varying toxicity, the most toxic two chemicals making up about 0.1% of the hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid sent down.

The case correlating fracking to groundwater contamination is as strong as Jenny McCarthy's claims correlating vaccines to autism. /Geologist who works for a major oil company.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934992)

/Geologist who works for a major oil company.

So you're obviously a non-biased source.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935098)

You remind me of a Birther.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935474)

Pointing out bias is not the same thing as calling someone a liar. If he works for a major oil company, it is a non-debatable fact that he has a bias.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (1)

slater.jay (1839748) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935150)

Yeah! It's terrible how nobody who works for an oil company can ever honestly be concerned about the impact of his work! This guy is such a paid shill!

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935440)

What's terrible is that your statement is more accurate when read without a tone of irony. Oil company employees have a practically faultless record of being paid shills. Though mainly only people willing to be paid shills take that kind of work.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935640)

OP here. So the Environmental Protection Agency and Ground Water Protection Council are biased in favor of big oil? My comments are based on THEIR studies, not my own, not my employer's.

Please, explain your brilliant reasoning or is it just a big government conspiracy?

Amazing that the most ignorant comments get modded up. Group-think at its finest.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935402)

There's no proven link between smoking and lung cancer. /Doctor who works for a major tobacco company.

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935434)

the most toxic two chemicals making up about 0.1% of the hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid sent down.

So, what you're actually telling us is that these companies are injecting thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into the earth and the ground water. That's not so reassuring...

Re:Ignorance out in full force again... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935480)

You're an Anonymous Coward. Sign your name and the oil corp and we'll believe that you are who you say. BTW, it's more like hundreds of millions of gallons of fracking fluids. That's millions of gallons of toxic chemicals, even if your percentages are true. An actual geologist working for a major oil corp who isn't lying would have said millions.

But even so, what does it matter that the EPA and the GWPC have been bribed and bullied by oil corps to lie to us about fracking safety?

Oil corps have earned only distrust and hatred. Anything they say should be treated as a lie unless conclusively proven to be true. Fracking is just the latest round of lies and abuse.

Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large ones? (1)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37934972)

If I understand correctly, quakes are the result of releasing pressure that builds up along fault lines. Wouldn't releasing this pressure in small increments prevent it from being released all at once? Otherwise a quake is going to happen sooner or later anyway. Better to be 10 small quakes than 1 large quake, right?

Re:Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large one (1)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935230)

Wouldn't releasing this pressure in small increments prevent it from being released all at once? Otherwise a quake is going to happen sooner or later anyway. Better to be 10 small quakes than 1 large quake, right?

Probably. The trick is that we'd need to know the right places to set off our small quakes, and how big we'd need to make them. I like to think that if we actually had the kind of knowledge to do that stuff safely, we'd already be using it right now to accurately predict earthquakes.

Uninformed geo-engineering is basically the equivalent of a surgeon slicing off chunks of your organs because they might develop cancer and kill you.

Re:Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large one (1)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935580)

Aren't fault lines the equivalent of tumors already?

Re:Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935730)

I can't imagine anyone who has a deep enough understanding of tumors and fault lines to accurately say yes actually saying yes.

Re:Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935328)

And you trust humans to be knowledgeable and trustworthy enough about geo-engineering to be able to produce smaller earthquakes to prevent larger earthquakes?

Have you seen how inept they are in the realm of developing software that's bug free and repairing roads and bridges? Things which are trivially easy.

Re:Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large one (1)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935646)

I don't see how they could make it worse purely on the grounds of seismic activity. Sure the contamination might be enough to nix the whole idea, but I have a hard time seeing how "deflating" the fault line can possibly be worse in any way than waiting for it to "pop".

Re:Doesn't inducing small quakes prevent large one (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935422)

No, there's no science concluding that small quakes overall reduce large quakes, rather than add to stresses that make large quakes larger and/or more likely. Some science suggests maybe, but even there only on some fault systems, not necessarily on others.

We are messing with major consequences that we don't understand. For short term gain, gambling against long term losses - that will be paid by someone who didn't make the short term profits. As usual.

Sea ponies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37934976)

Call upon the Sea Ponies when you're in distress
Helpful as can be ponies - simply signal SOS
If you find you're past the drift and haven't got an oar (oar)
Count upon the Sea Ponies - they'll see you to shore
Shoop-bee-doo-shoop-shoop-bee-doo

Atleast... (1)

smackeroo (2499912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935004)

At least it was shallow fracking, and not deep fracking. Think of the effects double fracking could cause!! o_o

Earthquakes (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935034)

Let's point out that the earthquakes were so small they can not be felt by man, are barely detectable, and these size quakes happen all the time naturally too.

As for groundwater pollution- this has happened, albeit doesn't usually- and there are non-toxic equivalents to the toxic chemicals that are *sometimes* used. Fracking need not use toxic chemical.

Natural Gas, whereas it is no "solar" or "wind farm", is overall much cleaner than oil or coal. (or at least can be if they regulate the chemicals used when fracking).

Anything which gets us away from coal (which is extremely destructive and polluting) is a good thing. Yes, we want renewables- but natural gas works today and is cost effective today. Trying to stop people collecting natural gas is not doing the environment any favours- because people will turn from gas to coal, which is much worse.

Re:Earthquakes (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935248)

Indeed. The British government would rather than people freeze in the dark -- or send a ton of money to the Russians to buy their gas -- than risk some slight tremors that no-one but a few scientists will notice.

Re:Earthquakes (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935382)

Yes, people die every day. So what's some more optional killing among friends?

NYC has a nuke plant just up the Hudson which has all kinds of unregulated underground pipe leaks already. It's on a fault line that official geologists said would max quake at something like 1% of the actual max quake geologists now have; the low number was the basis for the quake protections installed there. These faults are unstable anyway, but within a range. Extra quakes from fracking will add to the probability of a quake large enough to dump the nukes into the Hudson. Downstream is something like 15 million people, just within the first few hours. If you thought a couple of big office buildings collapsing downtown on 9/11/2001 busted up the NYC/USA/global economy, wait until you see tens of millions of people panicking as they fail to evacuate the NYC area during "the next Fukushima".

And then there's all the other damage to groundwater and from escaping gas and fracking fluids. The "little" quakes are if nothing else signs of severe damage being done to underground systems that we barely even know about, let alone understand.

Instead of fracking, we should do big engineering and drilling for geothermal. It's much cheaper to build, doesn't destroy the ground like fracking, and produces energy for a much longer period after. It's truly sustainable. Fracking is just another desperate grab for petrofuel profits that dump the costs beyond the horizon on everyone else.

Who cares (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935090)

we gota get that oil!!!!! mo money mo problems...

They're used to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935120)

The quakes they are seeing from fracking are less noticeable than the shaking caused by coal mining.

Just the First Confession (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935260)

It's surprising that this petrofuel corp is admitting anything at all. The truth will turn out to be even worse, as these energy corps always hide and lie as long as physically possible. They use the same PR corps that kept tobacco's death and destruction officially secret and off the liability lists for generations.

Soon enough we'll hear about even more damage the drill babies know they're doing. And then eventually, if we don't stop this destructive profit extraction, we'll hear about all the other damage they insisted on ignoring. But of course then it will be too late to matter. Which is always the drill babies' main strategy.

Re:Just the First Confession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935352)

Both the EPA and Ground Water Protection Council have performed studies showing no unexpected effects from fracking. What are you basing your comments on, willful ignorance or simply being uniformed by basing your views based on a 100 word Slashdot description?

co3k (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935312)

and sold in the and shoWer. For legitimise doing Direct orders, or another special user. 'Now that

pondering the issue... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935372)

First off I can't believe that drilling causes earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused by slippage during the course of tectonic plate movements. So saying that drilling "causes" earthquakes is silly.

What I can believe is that it causes quakes to come earlier and smaller, by slightly lowering the stiction between the plates. Looked at this way, it would seem to be a benefit rather than an evil disaster-maker? I think most places would much prefer to have a handful of 4.0's instead of the occasional 6.5.

Afaik, the only manmade earthquakes involve using very large explosives (h bombs) or conventional explosives on bedrock. (there are numerous examples of explosives being set off near bedrock and breaking windows for miles as a result of transmission of the blast through the bedrock - neither is a true earthquake but with somewhat similar effect)

If Fracking is dangerous I don't want to be safe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935522)

My father is a small time oil man in OK and I've seen fracking done. It's not black magic, and it's not dangerous. It's almost always done at deep levels that simply cannot pollute water tables absent some serious messed up concrete jobs on wells. They require wells to have concrete around the casing down a few hundred feet precisely to protect the water table from communicating with lower geological strata. The chemicals they use are in such low concentrations and small amounts that even if they did get into the water table you'd have a heck of a time detecting them. Gasland and all the other enviromentalist spew about fracking being some huge dangerous activity ignores the fact that it's been done in oil & gas fields for decades. As far as the quakes go, all oil & ng exploration has been known to upset faults and cause quakes. But most people won't even notice a 3.0 if they aren't near something that makes noise when it happens, and I have never heard of a oil/ng exploration process causing a quake that actually mattered.

So then (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935552)

Who is Italy going to press charges against for this one?

Of Course Fracking is safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37935598)

The fine people of Pennsylvania have easy uninterrupted access to hot and cold exploding water.

How dare you suggest otherwise!

so in other words... (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#37935736)

the UK is fracked.

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