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Earthquakes That May Be Related To Fracking Close Ohio Oil Well

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the shake-it-up-and-shut-it-down dept.

Earth 299

Frosty P writes "State leaders have ordered that four fluid-injection wells ('fracking') in eastern Ohio will be indefinitely prohibited from opening in the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area, an official said. A 4.0-magnitude quake struck Saturday afternoon near several wells that use 'fracking' to release oil deposits. It was the 11th in a series of minor earthquakes in the area."

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This seems... (3, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563102)

.... fragile and precarious victory of common sense over big money. Fragile and precarious, yet a victory.

Re:This seems... (-1, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563138)

precarious victory of common sense over big money.

Please extend that to issues concerning reducing our debt, specifically asking those who are well off to pay "a little bit more", say $1,800/year to tame our deficit.

Re:This seems... (4, Informative)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563182)

I would modestly propose Nationalization of the Federal Reserve, as they seem to keep turning up at the various crime scenes.

Re:This seems... (-1, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563224)

Win.

Re:This seems... (4, Insightful)

GregC63 (1564363) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563230)

How about stopping some of the idiotic spending that we're doing? God forbid we show a little fiscal responsibility instead of being fleeced fro more money...

Re:This seems... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563334)

How about both? Cut spending and increase taxes.

Re:This seems... (3, Interesting)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563538)

I pay in the neighborhood of 27% of my salary each year in taxes. If I sell a few stocks that I made some money on, add to that the capital gains taxes and I'm closing in on 30%. I think I pay enough in taxes thank you very much.

Re:This seems... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563648)

27% ??? That's nothing compared to what you have to pay in Europe. Consider yourself lucky.

Re:This seems... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563956)

Europeans get medical care, paid vacations of up to one month, relatively inexpensive public transportation, and a retirement pension. How long is that going to last with the current Muslim invasion and the banking cartels trying to destroy Germany?

Re:This seems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563718)

I live in Europe, I've paid up to 48% at one time and i think it's fair. 30%? boo freaking hoo.

Re:This seems... (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563808)

I call bullshit. Long term cap gains taxes are 15%.

Re:This seems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563876)

If I sell a few stocks that I made some money on, add to that the capital gains taxes and I'm closing in on 30%.

You're doing something wrong. Capital gains should only be on the profit you make from selling the stock. You don't have to pay taxes on the base that you put in (presumably that was taxed before you put it into the stock, unless you differed taxes until you took it out, either way you're paying the same on that portion). The capital gains on the profit from your stocks should be significantly less than your salary tax. I think along the lines of 15%.

So if you sell your stocks and make a profit your overall tax percentage will move down from 27%. Your net income will look something like ((salary - 27%)+(stock profit - 15%)). If you sell for a loss, you should be able to deduct that loss from your taxes. In all scenarios, investing in stocks will lower your tax exposure compared to someone paying you a salary. The more money you can move around in investments and the more you can get away from working for someone your money, the less taxes you will pay.

Note I believe taxes should be the same regardless of how one earns it. I do not think salary taxes should be lower than capital gains, I think they should be the same.

Re:This seems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563338)

This will only work when you get ideologues to understand that tax cuts and spending are equivalent in terms of the national debt. Good luck with that.

Fiscal responsibility is tough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563368)

Because the priorities vary, and none of it is conveniently labelled.

Good luck defining the idiotic spending. Mostly it varies by the speaker, and that occurs on BOTH sides, which means it includes anything from health inspections to fighter jets, and who knows which is which?

Re:Fiscal responsibility is tough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563394)

Perhaps not spending $3 trillion on oil wars would help the American public's health and education system for starters.

Re:Fiscal responsibility is tough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563952)

No, because they wouldn't plow the money back into the school systems or health care, but put it elsewhere.

Re:This seems... (0)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563442)

I am sorry, but by "our debt" you probably mean "US federal debt" or "californian debt". By which, as a European, a can hardly be bothered, already paying taxes to finance my government's debt.

Maybe so, if you never had to take physics. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563210)

"Common sense" in your case, apparently means "hysteria over things I don't understand, but still don't like."

Re:Maybe so, if you never had to take physics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563750)

Common sense only applies to small-scale everyday things, like not putting your hand on a hot stove. For large-scale complex things like the economy or environment, "common sense" really is just "hysteria over things I don't understand, but still don't like." In such things, common sense is either wrong or is right only by coincidence.

Re:This seems... (4, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563324)

Yeah, but can you prove that the small fraking-caused quakes didn't release stress that would have caused a much more dangerous larger magnitude quake?

Re:This seems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563554)

.... fragile and precarious victory of common sense over big money. Fragile and precarious, yet a victory.

Maybe...it says this is the 11th in a series of earthquakes and then goes on to say that they can't tie the activity to the wells and give a history that goes back to the 1800s. Perhaps we should actually try to figure out if the fracking is what's causing it but hey that's just me and my "evidence based medicine" talking. I do think the stopping of the activity until someone can figure out a way to study the impact is a good thing given that there is some indication the two are related. I think media outlets and people on slashdot making all sorts of assumptions and spewing out things like "common sense" as though it were a logically supportable argument is probably damaging to us figuring out if this is a problem and responding to it appropriately with either an outright ban or stronger safety regulations.

It's the end! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563110)

Yep. This is how the world ends. And also, the first post!

Re:It's the end! (2)

pjabardo (977600) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563646)

The world is still here and it was *not* the first post.

Anti-fracking goal (3, Interesting)

gedankenhoren (2001086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563126)

And now the goals, for anti-fracking advocates, are:

(1) to identify features in this area's geology that appear contributive to the earthquakes. To wit:
"Dr. Won-Young Kim, one of the Columbia University experts asked by the state to examine possible connections between fracking and seismic activity, said that a problem could arise if fluid moves through the ground and affects 'a weak fault, waiting to be triggered.'"

(2) start fear-mongering re "weak fault[s], waiting to be triggered" a la doomsday flicks, since obviously carcinogens leeching to the water supply aren't sufficiently frightening; maybe sudden catastrophe is more convincing than a slow wasting.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563178)

Right, it's all a giant hoax. I bet this Columbia geologist only got his PhD because he knew that years later there would be fracking projects he could sabotage.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (2)

gedankenhoren (2001086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563188)

I think, nay I know, that you're misinterpreting; my apologizes for being unclear. Fear-mongering is definitely a positive behavior, in this context.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (2, Informative)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563298)

Not so much a hoax as an example of pandering to hysteria.

The wells haven't been opened yet so unless the earth can be frightened into producing an earthquake at the prospect of a fluid injection well the wells could hardly have had anything to do with the earthquake.

So yeah, it is a fragile and precarious victory since it's based fear-mongering. But then if you don't have the science on your side what are the alternatives to whipping up fear?

Re:Anti-fracking goal (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563704)

Regardless of the origin, they only reached a 4.0-magnitude earthquake, and in Ohio. I would just up the building code to ensure buildings can withstand, to be on the safe side, 5.0-magnitude earthquakes and let them continue once all old and new buildings are up to the new standards. It might even boost employment...

Re:Anti-fracking goal (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563800)

That might take... a while. I somewhat doubt the drillers would want to wait that long. However, your Geektopia does sound very pragmatic.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563184)

"since obviously carcinogens leeching to the water supply aren't sufficiently frightening"

The way people spill ordinary (and carcinogenic) gasoline at a typical gas station suggests to me that most people aren't overly concerned about such things. If they can't see it or feel an earthquake from it, they don't particularly notice or care.

That being said, the introduction of materials a kilometre or more beneath the surface is a lot less to worry about in terms of groundwater contamination.

Re:weak faults (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563202)

aren't weak faults the cracks which duct the cocktail into the water table?

Re:weak faults (1)

philpalm (952191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563590)

It depends on whether or not the natural gas bearing material is lower than the water table or not. Fracking involves injection of liquids (compounds that are not usually identified) below the water table with other layers of material that supposedly prevents "ducting" or diffusion of bad compounds into the water table. However a "leaking" tube used for injection can cause contamination of the water table.

Re:weak faults (1)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563724)

If everything seems to be going fine at an injection well, the waste is flowing and there are no visible problems on the surface, how is it determined if the pipe through which the waste water is being pumped did or didn't leak before the waste got to the desired depth?

Re:Anti-fracking goal (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563216)

"Dr. Won-Young Kim... said that a problem could arise if fluid moves through the ground and affects a weak fault, waiting to be triggered."

An accurate quote from the article, good start.

...fear-mongering re "weak fault[s], waiting to be triggered" a la doomsday flicks

A baseless assertion twisting an informed statement of fact into something it's not. Fail.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563274)

The problem with your idea is that drilling appears to have caused earthquakes before, and the idea that it will happen again therefore has merit. They closed a drilling project near The Geysers here in northern California due to quake activity. And Calpine Geothermal has paid millions in claims to area residents as seismic activity has been tightly correlated to their pumping of semi-treated sewage into the ground.

It's too bad you're a shill or a troll, because you could use this power for good.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563396)

They still drill in The Geysers because the resulting quakes are predictably minor and the geothermal energy harvested is much more economically important than cracked foundations, paying millions in claims or not.

The problem I see here is that the Ohio quakes are in a known quake zone that has produced larger ones historically. It might be more logical to assume that the prior quakes somehow caused humans to drill the later wells.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563406)

They still drill in The Geysers because the resulting quakes are predictably minor and the geothermal energy harvested is much more economically important than cracked foundations, paying millions in claims or not.

Actually, it isn't. The generation facility at The Geysers has never been profitable. It has always been under production and over budget. It must be seen as a failure on all levels. We don't even have reliable power in Middletown, for fuck's sake, let alone the rest of the county.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (2)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563606)

Profitable enough, or they'd close it.

Sadly, all the best geothermal potential is is places so desolate that anyone proposing developing it is virtually always blocked by the "you'll ruin the wilderness ambiance/desecrate the spirit/affect the traditional cattle range/startle the endangered jackrabbit subspecies" arguments. I've heard an environmentalist whine just because they couldn't block clean energy from being generated on military reservations closed to the public, as this might compete with their preferred conservation. Evidently people are supposed to conserve down to zero first.

Re:Anti-fracking goal (5, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563486)

Having an opinion doesn't make one a shill or a troll, especially when there's as much evidence supporting his opinion as your own. The problem is there's absurdly little research from both the pro- and anti-fracking camps. On the one hand, Ohio's seismic activity has increased lately. On the other hand, it has been very inactive since the 1930's, and still remains relatively stable today. Then, of course, there's the possibility (mentioned many times already in this discussion) that releasing pressure could reduce the risk of a larger earthquake.

Comparing Ohio's seismic activity to California is ridiculous. In Ohio, the last big earthquake in 1937 toppled a few weak chimneys. In California, an equivalent earthquake (magnitude 5.4) happened in July of 2010. The faults in Ohio, even when active, pale in comparison to California's eternal fear of the next "big one".

There's no consensus among relevant experts about fracking's effects, but there's plenty of people willing to protest vehemently one way or the other. GP is right to call this out as fear-mongering.

Frack the Big One! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563128)

Won't be long now till someone discovers that fracking might help turning the Big One pending into several minor quakes, and starts selling this idea.

Re:Frack the Big One! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563150)

Do you speak English?

Re:Frack the Big One! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563208)

Unfortunately state leaders are happy to fine you for causing an earthquake, but not willing to pay you for preventing a big earthquake.

Re:Frack the Big One! (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563340)

Well there is your plot for 24 hours. Terrorists fracking the San Antonios fault.

Re:Frack the Big One! (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563404)

Have you not seen A View to a Kill?

Nice to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563162)

that Correlation = Causation nowadays

Re:Nice to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563444)

I'd say that isn't the issue here. If an area not known for having earthquakes, such as the geographically stable east coast of the US (tailing end of the tectonic plate) starts to be active, then it is a good enough reason to look into reasons.

Now, a minor quake here and there isn't a specific concern for me. I'm of the opinion that if people sold their land rights to setup wells they deserve any sink hole or earth movement, but my issue with fracking is the undocumented chemicals being used, damage to the water table, and how shifty many companies seem to be about it.

There is no reason to afflict the water table for area around the well unless they are willing to put aside enough money to cover health & home damage costs for the afflicted residents for as long as the damage will last, and then some for emotional damage (grief).

Re:Nice to see (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563782)

Sorry, the east coast of the US isn't geographically stable. You have to go to the Michigan Basin or Canadian Shield to find big areas that are.

That's why the oil and gas is there, faults and deformation form traps for it.

Your potential grief bond proposal is interesting from a legal standpoint. How much potential grief is someone causing me by blocking someone else drilling for energy I might use? Should they have to post a bond with their legal attempts to someone from drilling for that reason, too?

I feel grief...

So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563164)

This is a sensible response. If the current fracking program is affecting the local geology in this way then the fracking program should be changed.

This isn't news.

Don't be under the impression that this is news. The oil industry has been fracking for years. Decades even. Thus far the middle east and texas have failed spectacularly to fall into the sea.

Move along. Nothing to see here...

Alas. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563282)

Thus far the middle east and texas have failed spectacularly to fall into the sea.

Alas.

Re:So what? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563402)

The oil industry has been fracking for years, in areas that are geologically suitable. They are running out of those areas however, and are moving into less suitable areas.

Re:So what? (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563622)

I live in PA about three hours from this place. Different geology in both places. This region has been drilled repeatedly in the past for less deep deposits of natural gas, it has been swiss cheesed by traditional mining, it sits on/near a weakened portion of the North American Plate that was buckled. Squeeze a flat sheet of cardboard box till buckles, that is what caused the Appalachian Mountains.

Not to mention the region this drilling is occurring in is still recovering geologically from the last ice age with its glaciers: http://www.purdue.edu/uns/html4ever/2005/051213.Calais.earthquake.html [purdue.edu]

Of course, therein lies the problem. Is it fracking, the ice age recovering or natural processes being amplified by the localized plate stress mark? The same three core reasons fracking could be doing more harm here than other places also could be the cause themselves.

Though mark my words, even if fracking is found to be completely faultless the anti-frackers will start claiming "the earthquakes might damage the wells and cause pollution!"

Cue up all those snide posts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563166)

... about a political party/ideology being "anti-science."

Oh, wait, that'll never happen here. Wrong party/ideology, and this decision was 100% science-free hysteria.

I think fracking is felgercarb (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563168)

Just sayin'.

Seems like their priorities are wrong ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563170)

Wouldn't it be better to have lots of small earthquakes instead of the the large one that would be building up on it's own?

Fraking itself doesn't cause the earthquake, but instead triggers one from the already existing pressures.

Sponge (0, Flamebait)

earls (1367951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563316)

The earth is porous and cavernous, yet filled with fluid similar to a wet sponge. If you bust up the caverns and suck out the fluid, the ground is going to collapse. While yes, there may be some natural potential for the same event, nature simply seeks equilibrium, unlike man, so the potential energy should theoretically be lower - meaning lower probability of such, and less destruction if it would occur. The small earthquakes they are experiencing are simply minor warnings to a major catastrophe.

Re:Sponge (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563430)

The earth is porous and cavernous, yet filled with fluid similar to a wet sponge. If you bust up the caverns and suck out the fluid, the ground is going to collapse.

If the oil/gas were in large, cavernous holes in the ground, there'd be no need to frac. It's not. It's in the tiny pores in the rock.

Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (4, Informative)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563172)

The media keeps mixing and confusing fracking with saltwater disposal wells. (remember how much they confuse hackers and crackers)

Fracking is a one time process for increasing porosity of a formation immediately around the well at the time of completion.

A saltwater disposal well is normally a well(oil or gas) that has played out and is used to return unwanted saltwater back where it came from.

Fracking only affects an area within a few hundred feet of the well.

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563270)

Can't you just dump salt water in the ocean?

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563286)

Can't you just dump salt water in the ocean?

I just love the coastline along eastern Ohio!

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563296)

Perhaps you should look at a map and see that Ohio is a long ways away from a body of salt water.

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563300)

Unfortunately, no. There are other chemicals and minerals dissolved in the water which render the water unacceptable to dump into the ocean.

However, there is a positive side effect of pumping it down a well--it can help maintain the pressure in the reservoir, which keeps production levels from falling too quickly.

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563432)

The "other chemicals and minerals dissolved in the water which render the water unacceptable to dump into the ocean" might also make it unacceptable to pump into our groundwater.

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (3, Informative)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563884)

you can't pump it into just any formation.

formations that contain fresh water or may migrate to such a formation are deemed off limits.

even drilling through a freshwater formation is strickly controlled and requires additional layers of surface casing(pipe within pipe and concrete).

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563596)

moron.

Re:Fracking vs Saltwater Disposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563888)

Fracking only affects an area within a few hundred feet of the well.

[Citation Needed]

Global warming vs. number of pirates? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563198)

Anyone have that graph handy?

Re:Global warming vs. number of pirates? (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563482)

Anyone have that graph handy?

Thankfully real scientists know theres no correlation between pirates and global warming, just as real scientists know the correlation here is plausable enough to warrant being careful.

Re:Global warming vs. number of pirates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563708)

The graph is on Wikipedia's Flying Spaghetti Monster page [wikipedia.org] .

Perhaps Fracking will Reduce earthquakes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563200)

It could be just the opposite. I can see an arguement being made that once the tension is released by the earthquakes caused by fracking, large earthquakes would actually be reduced as the geologic tension would be able to be released more easily. What if fracking was actually the solution to eliminating major earthquakes along fault lines like the San Andreas?

The real downside is that it could potentially result in more volcanic activity as the tectonic plates would move faster.

why is it (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563206)

that when dems stopped the drilling in the gulf due to a massive oil spill, that the dems were blamed for impeding progress and destroying America, but now that a republicans gets a few tremors in his state, he wants to stop it quickly? Likewise, here in Colorado, the cities that have republicans in control have put temp stops to fracking in THEIR areas, calling it prudent, yet want us to continue fracking all over, importing oils from places like Nigeria, Iran, Venezeula, etc. and absolutely are opposed to spending money on electric cars?

And ppl do not understand why I WANT us to continue drilling all over USA. I figure that once Americans start to get earthquakes, polluted waters esp. in our aquifiers, and see the repercussions of this 'clean' source of jobs, then MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, we will finally figure out that we need to change our policy. And I can not think of anything that would be better then to get the west off imported energy (other than to add that we quit importing bad goods and food from china).

Re:why is it (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563508)

And ppl do not understand why I WANT us to continue drilling all over USA.

I suspect its more likely that people don't care.

Re:why is it (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563900)

Yet, if we continue drilling all over, lowering our imports, but at the same time, EVERYBODY will see the impact, then we will finally make the right choice. By our importing much of our oil and the fact that so many ppl did not see the issues, it allowed them to ignore the consequences. Now that a stable area is looking at earthquakes, they MIGHT re-think it. Hopefully, the oil companies will lean on Ohio in the same fashion that they did the president for putting in a temp ban in the gulf. However, considering that the republicans/oil companies did NOTHING when republican controlled cities put temp bans on, I am guessing that they will do little there as well.

Colorado eathquakes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563240)

There was a 12k foot well dug in the 60's at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal outside of Denver for the purposes of chemical waste disposal. They pumped down 150 million gallons of waste until the mid 60's. They stopped because over a thousand small earthquakes started occurring, including several that could be felt, up to 5.3.

Don't understand why this is a problem (5, Interesting)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563244)

I can understand not wanting carcinogens pumped into the water table, but the earthquake aspect seems like a non-issue to me as long as they're small. If small earthquakes are triggered, it means stresses in the fault lines were already present and are being relieved. Having a number of small earthquakes seems preferable to letting the stress build up until it triggers a large quake.

Re:Don't understand why this is a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563516)

Imagine a I bust up a few joists in your home. Your home starts collapsing.

"Why, I didn't make it fall down! I just relieved the stresses placed on those joists. I probably prevented a much bigger collapse later!"

For all that the GOP is in support of preserving the figurative bedrock/foundation of America, they sure don't mind destroying the literal version.

Re:Don't understand why this is a problem (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563978)

Houses and tectonic plates are different.

For one thing houses don't have magma currents under them that ADD stress.

Fracking Probably Had Nothing to Do With It (5, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563250)

The article itself notes that earthquakes have occurred in that part of Ohio for nearly two centuries, and its size was well beyond the quite small theoretical maximum that could be induced by fracking [nature.com] . Extensive studies [house.gov] of fracking have shown no evidence of the contamination scare stories environmentalists have been pushing.

The people opposing fracking are the same people opposed to all uses of oil and as power sources.

Re:Fracking Probably Had Nothing to Do With It (5, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563332)

I'm not sure about the effect of fracking on seismic activity, but I think correlation is all we will have to infer causation as we cannot directly monitor the changes in strain which lead to seismic conditions. I would expect that the USGS would have the data for the areas where wells have been drilled, and that a study could be done to determine the probabalistic model variation, but I have not heard of such a study.

As for contamination, are the fracking fluids spiked with dye trace to be able to determine if suspected contamination occurs (and there always is some suspicion, even if there is no actual)? I don't know anything about the regulations on fracking, so I don't know if such a tracer is required. They are used quite frequently in groundwater migration applications.

Re:Fracking Probably Had Nothing to Do With It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563644)

That is a very good idea. I do not know if the fracking fluids are marked like that but they should be and the dye should be traceable to the actual well.

If properly cased and cemented there will be no contamination. However what we learned from the BP spill is that some companies do not do this (I work in the industry and everyone where I work was livid when we learned how BP cased/cemented that well). If the contamination could be traced to a particular well not only would we be able to weed out the bad players the well doing the contamination could be identified and fixed (it is expensive to re-case/re-cement a well, but it can be done) and this also might act as a deterrent to improper work.

Re:Fracking Probably Had Nothing to Do With It (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563366)

Oh, I should say that there is seismic activity everywhere in the US. The predictions for probable magnitudes shift slightly over time. They are contained in the NEHRP recommended provisions for seismic regulations for building design. The isolines just shifted a bit 6 years ago in southern Virginia, for example, putting several counties into a lower seismic hazard zone.

The question is not, "is fracking causing seismic events" but rather, "is fracking causing a statistically significant increase in frequency or magnitude of events relative to the current baseline." That may seem nuanced, but it is the correct way to approach the issue.

Re:Fracking Probably Had Nothing to Do With It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563400)

Or is fracking releasing relatively minor earthquakes saving Ohio from a monstrous 8.0 major event.

Re:Fracking Probably Had Nothing to Do With It (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563420)

There are very good reasons to be opposed to oil as a power source. If we don't control CO2 levels we're going to bake.

Man-made earthquakes: New energy source? (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563302)

FTFA:

Then on Saturday, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck that released at least 40 times more energy than any of the previous 10 or more tremors that had rattled the region in 2011.

So all we need to do is to learn how to turn earthquake energy into electric power. Pumping fracking juice into the earth to purposely cause earthquakes could solve all our energy problems.

We've been doing it wrong all along: we've been pumping stuff out for energy, instead of pumping it in.

It might kinda suck for folks who live along fault lines, but with energy, you always have a "not in my backyard" crowd to deal with.

Re:Man-made earthquakes: New energy source? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563314)

So all we need to do is to learn how to turn earthquake energy into electric power.

Even if you could somehow solve the formidable technical challenges, environmentalism would prevent any such large-scale engineering project.

Bs (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563336)

They have been fracking in Michigan for over 20 years and the only problems have been near home with poorly constructed wells. As for the contamination from drilling fluid, people need to realize that the same drilling fluid is used to drill your homes well. The material consists of pulverized dry clay, if it's a carcinogen then you shouldn't let your kids play in the sand box or with modeling clay. And yes I used to drill for a living at a geotechnical engineering company.

Fracking fracking! (3, Funny)

JonathanF (532591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563362)

I'm sorry, I know there's loads of serious comments that are worthier than this, but my inner Battlestar Galactica makes an entirely different subject out of that title. That's a fracking close Ohio oil well!

Consider this post the steam vent for everyone else who needs to get it out of their system.

Re:Fracking fracking! (1)

Maquis196 (535256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563472)

heh beat me to it by seconds! It so does haha

Re:Fracking fracking! (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563752)

It substitutes for a four-letter word, so it's actually "frak" in BSG.

Fracing does not equal injection/disposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563370)

Injection/disposal wells are not "Fracing" as it is currently being discussed in the news. Fracing is about purposly over pressuring a hydrocarbon bearing reservoir in order to stimulate it to produce at a higher rate and thus become more economically feasible. Injection/disposal well are just what they sound like, take some nasty substance that someone wants to dispose of and inject it into a water bearing (as opposed to hydrocarbon bearing) porous rock. Usually this is done deep to avoid shallow potentially potable ground water

The US government learned in the 1960's that injection/disposal wells near faults can cause them to rupture and release accumulated stress.

Damn BSG... (1)

Maquis196 (535256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563390)

It might be pronounced differently(is it?) but everytime I read fracking I think of Battlestar and this subject it's funny;

Earthquakes That May be Realted To F*cking close Ohion Oil Well.

Love it :)

If so, better to trigger them predictably.. (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563408)

It would be revolutionary if you could trigger earthquakes. And if you can intentionally have smaller ones vs bigger ones even better. If it's true then we serious need Ohio to continue and seriously study the phenomenon. To where your fracking where there are no oil wells just to see if you can get results. This would save lives.

And it's a hard argument to say that pumping water at relatively low pressures and total energies (compared to what exists already) is actually causing earthquakes. That would be a thousand times more revolutionary. The energies involved in earthquakes are nuclear on an exponential scale.

Either way for the sake of humanity we need them to continue.

Re:If so, better to trigger them predictably.. (1)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563680)

I one saw in a movie that triggering earthquakes would cause the earth's core to stop spinning, causing the magnetic shield to disappear and let in dangerous radiation that would kill us all. I think Stanley Tucci was in that movie...

Oil well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563550)

Ohio has oil wells? I thought only Texas and Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico have oil wells. I learned something new.

Re:Oil well? (1)

lenski (96498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563734)

My parents had "free gas", because the oil well in the front 40 (acres) was a constant, if slow, producer of both oil and gas.

Eastern Ohio has had oil wells for at least the last century. They are typically slow producers, but the crude they produce is relatively highly prized because its impurities are less nasty than others. I don't know the terminology very well, but I recall that there was a lot of paraffin and other "nice" stuff in Ohio oil.

Throughout my childhood and youth, arriving home after a long trip always a pleasant experience, because I could recognize the whiff of oil in the air as we got closer to the area where we lived: North of Somerset, south of Brownsville, east of Glenford).

The gas got a whole lot less "free" when my father insisted that *I* be the one to empty the sumps where the white gas (liquid at room temperature) would condense out of the gas (mostly methane, which is the genuine article) in the middle of winter after the furnace stopped...

I live here and this is WRONG, like most media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563582)

It's the brinewater disposal well that's considered to be on a previously unknown fault. It's been open less than a year and most of the quakes are in that time. The other (fracking wells) are closing because of the ignorant public blaming them for the quakes (with no damage and no casualties, so terrible.). They're closing to let an investigation continue because that's what you do when you have nothing to hide and you want to look good to the public. If they just moved the brine well or shut it down, these wouldn't happen and the drilling could keep on going.

I LOVE that the random public wants to tell everyone that they can't get paid on their mineral rights on their own land because they're afraid of something they don't understand ANYTHING about. If you don't understand something, you shouldn't be allowed to vote on it or complain about it, at someone elses financial expense.

This is the exact same as someone buying land to turn into a garbage dump, and people protesting it. Did you buy the land? Are you going to buy it off of them now that it's useless if they can't put a dump there? Is making a dump legal (yes)? can you prove that modern dumps are hazardous? (no) Then it sounds like you don't have a say.

This isn't a victory over corporations, etc. If you lived near this area, you'd know if it brought in 1000 jobs but leveled the city with earthquakes, YOU'D STILL BE UP PROFITS AFTER PAYING FOR DAMAGE.

For some reason, the residents would welcome back steel mill jobs that polluted the local waterways so bad that you can't swim in them or eat anything out of them. The river is totally desolate. But if jobs came with minor tremors, well shit, that's unacceptable. THERE'S NO FREE LUNCH, A RAPID INFLUX OF JOBS IS GOING TO HAVE A DOWNSIDE SOMEWHERE. If we find some unknown faults, well, move the wells that find them and keep working.

Re:I live here and this is WRONG, like most media (1)

lenski (96498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563896)

I'm guessing that the study of the quakelets in the area will result in permission to go ahead and keep going at it. This is a temporary condition. In my opinion, when something happens that was not forecast, then it's a good time to check things out before going whole-hog.

I also lived in an area where there's well activity, and in fact my parents' well was fracked sometime in the late '70's.

Our well water SUCKED SHIT afterward. We had to give up on the well water entirely, and were very fortunate to have a slow and barely acceptable artesian spring that allowed us to continue living on the farm. My father was a software engineer and was (barely) able to afford the cost of all the digging, the cistern, and semi-big-deal plumbing that was needed to get non-shit water.

I've been there to watch the process in our neck of the woods and there is a whole FUCKLOAD of externalizing risk going on. The people it affects tend to live on relatively slim incomes as it is, and often the effects of nearby industrial processes take them from just making it to just not making it.

So there's no free lunch. Particularly if you don't have the money to buy a congressliar.

Related Story (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563854)

Republican Politicians in Ohio are wondering where fossil fuels come from in the first place as the 6000 years since the flood clearly hasn't been long enough for them to form from natural processes.

 

is it even possible? (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563858)

It doesn't seem like a bit of water injected into the ground would cause seismic instability. I'm not an expert it just seems to be about as likely to change the nature of the ground as pissing into a hurricane is to change the direction of the storm.

Again... I make no claim to special knowledge. It just doesn't seem to anywhere near strong enough to have that effect. Some very localized shaking perhaps but nothing wide spread...

Has anyone done the math on this or have some sort of geological background? It just seems really unlikely.

Youngstown (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38563898)

To those saying that earthquakes here are common, I live in Youngstown, and we have never had a locally originated seismic event. But as of March, we've had 11 quakes with epicenters near the well that has been shut down.

Oh goodie....stop drilling (0)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38563970)

Here we go again. ANYTHING to stop the USA from becoming more energy independent. This one will rank up there with save the whales, man made global warming, banning incandescent light bulbs etc. Now we'll have the dopes in congress along with Hussein Obama banning this technology, which will stop the job boom in the Dakota's (red state).
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