By Danni Ybarra |Staff Writer|
Although there is a slim chance that a large earthquake will happen in the near future, the study, conducted by Geophysicist William Ellsworth of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), shows that the continuous fracking responsible for the increase in smaller earthquakes can eventually lead to a “big one” with devastating results, reported ABC News.
“Fracking does cause earthquakes. Last year, Oklahoma overtook California as the state with most earthquakes, and the only reason is because of fracking,” stated CSUSB Lab Instructor Ross McIntosh.
When drilling and releasing the high-pressure water into the ground, it awakens long dormant faults and causes movement and fault slipping.
“Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside,” stated BBC News.
The process allows for the retrieval of oil and natural gas from hard-to-reach spots underground.
It is all for energy purposes and is helping to increase oil production in the U.S. and is also helping to drive down gas prices, according to BBC News.
“It’s a catch-22, you know? It’s causing earthquakes where there shouldn’t be and that’s causing damage, I’m sure. But it’s also lowering my gas prices!” said student Sameje Palmer.
“The earth has its own cycle and if we continue to interrupt, we’re going to have to deal with some pretty serious consequences,” said student Daniel Castellanos.
“I think it’s easy to forget that the earth was here before us and not the other way around. We got to respect it,” continued Castellanos.
Whether or not fracking is the only cause of these earthquakes, we do know for certain that in the last seven days there have been nine earthquakes, big enough to feel, reported in Oklahoma and two in Kansas. USGS reports that nine of the 11 earthquakes had a shaking intensity of 4.0.
This is a huge difference in the states’ average of less than two earthquakes per year for nearly 100 years, according to BBC news.
While Oklahoma is receiving much of the spotlight for the increase in earthquakes, many other states where the fracking process is being performed also had an increase.
However these states, like Texas and Ohio, are not at risk for a major earthquake like Oklahoma and Kansas are, stated ABC News.
Other states that have fracking, like Arkansas, are seeing a decrease in man-made quakes.
Interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey, Rex Buchanan, told ABC News, “we are worried about this, no question about it.”