Are Arkansas Earthquakes Related to Fracking?

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Magnitude 4.7 earthquake in Arkansas
Location of a Magnitude 4.7 earthquake in Arkansas on February 28, 2011.

Arkansas has been hit with a ton of earthquakes lately (as well as mass fish and bird deaths), and a large number of the earthquakes haven’t even been in the New Madrid Fault region. A number of people have been drawing a connection between the earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), and two gas disposal sites have actually been suspended from use of injection wells (the prime suspect) now.

“The two drilling operations are Chesapeake Energy and Clarita Operating,” Shellee Tyler of Planetsave writes. “They have ceased operation of the wells near Greenbrier and Guy pending a panel meeting on the matter on March 29.”

Whether or not the earthquakes are related to the fracking is still far from conclusive, but a number of experts have expressed the belief that there is a relationship.

“The Arkansas Oil and Gas commission says there is likely a link between the wells and the earthquakes,” Sarah Eddington of The Seattle Times writes. “There have been more than 800 quakes in the area in the past six months. with a magnitude 4.7 quake, the strongest in Arkansas in 35 years, hit there Sunday.”

“I can’t go into detail at this time, but I can say that we believe there is a potential correlation between injection operations and earthquakes at one or both of those wells,” said Shane Khoury, deputy director and general counsel for the commission.

This “clean” source of energy (natural gas) keeps running into issues. Recently, it was found that the climate benefits of natural gas are actually far overestimated. And as we all know by now, it has been linked to plenty of water quality problems and even flammable water.

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Image via USGS

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Zachary Shahan

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