Regardless of your personal feelings about global warming, the “social consciousness” level of awareness and concern regarding the use of fossil fuels is growing throughout the world.
Many of the environmental problems the world faces today – including climate change, air pollution, oil spills, and acid rain – result from our dependence on fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels produces heat-trapping gases that are the main cause of the ongoing rise in global atmospheric temperatures.
Now, thanks to a revolutionary new energy-extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” Americans are experiencing a new “problem” that can be added to the list of concerns associated with our dependence on fossil fuels – earthquakes!
To paraphrase a line from a Chuck Berry song – “There’s a whole lot of rockin’ and a’ rollin’ going on”
A growing body of evidence suggests that the operations involved with fracking may be responsible for the increasing number of earthquakes around the country. In Oklahoma, an unprecedented 585 magnitude-3 earthquakes occurred in 2014 alone, with other spikes noted in states in the Midwest and Southwest where fracking was taking place.
Experts are saying it is not the fracking itself that is causing the quakes, but rather the wastewater byproduct of fracking that subsequently has to be disposed of.
“One of the crises in this industry is what to do with all the stuff that exists in these wells? It has to be injected and stored somewhere and that means more injection wells” according to Justin Rubinstein, US Geological Survey Research Geophysicist.
Hydraulic fracking operates by pumping huge quantities of water and chemical at high pressure into rock formations, cracking them open for energy extraction. The resulting waste, comprised of toxic, chemical-laden saltwater and industrial byproducts, is sucked back out and injected deep into the earth elsewhere at wastewater injection disposal sites. These wastewater disposal wells typically operate for longer durations and inject much more fluid than hydraulic fracturing, making them more likely to induce earthquakes.
It is believed, according to experts like Rubinstein, that “the injection wells themselves are the primary cause of the earthquakes.” And, it is a growing concern – “ We’ve had 100 years-worth of magnitude 4 quakes (13) in the last 6 months in Oklahoma alone”, exceeding anything experienced during the same time frame in the earthquake-prone state of California.
The very idea that a person’s house may be destroyed by man-made quakes is scary. Increasingly, people everywhere are voicing concerns about fracking, asking “why are we doing this to ourselves and the environment?”
We at Solar UV Solutions agree. Regardless of whether you feel that global warming and climate change is taking place, you can appreciate the real fear people who live in quake-induced fracking areas are feeling.
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