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Man Made Earthquakes

Updated on April 9, 2012
Report Due
Report Due | Source

US Geological Survey

A report to be filed by the USGS later in the month, will state that the increase in the number of earthquakes in the United States, over the last several years, are happening because of oil and gas mining.

The study they carried out to determine their report, covered an area West of Ohio and East of Utah. They covered earthquakes of a magnitude 3 or over.

From the year 1970 to 2000 there was an average of 21 earthquakes per year. From 2001 to 2008 this figure increased to an average of 29 then in the following years there were 50, 87 and then in 2011, 137 earthquakes.

The author of the report William Ellsworth says that Methane production started in that area in 2001 and so cannot be ruled out to having a link in the increase in earthquake activity.


Building Pressure?
Building Pressure? | Source


The process of fracking has been suggested as possibly causing earthquakes. “Fracking” is a name that has been given to hydraulic fracturing. This is a process where waste water is pumped into the ground to fracture the rock and allow oil and gas to escape. However Ellsworth said that his team had not found any proof that fracking was responsible for the earthquakes.

Two theories have been put forward, the first being that the injected fluids change the friction and stickiness along fault lines. The second is that the fluids build up pressure underground and quicken up a reaction that would have happened at some time anyway.

San Francisco 1906

Can a Repeat of this be Avoided?
Can a Repeat of this be Avoided? | Source


The results of this study are not agreed to by all though.

Austin Holland, the Oklahoma seismologist says that although the report is a good theory, that is all that it is. He states that although the report presents an interesting hypothesis, too little is known to be able to rule out natural causes creating the increase in activity.

As with any study that is carried out, it is important to know who is funding it and what is at stake for the findings. Always when the production of oil and gas are involved, then large amounts of money are also involved.

I would therefore find it hard to believe that this team was not put under a great deal of pressure, to find the oil and gas companies blameless. Therefore for them to still say that it is possible for them to be responsible, is probably a huge understatement and that the proof is so overwhelming that it could not be totally ignored regardless of how much pressure was brought to bear.

If there is a possibility that we are creating earthquakes, then I think further independent studies should be carried out before too many other new drillings take place.

Yes, there certainly is a need for more oil and gas but at what price?

Earthquakes can be totally devastating and cost thousands of lives and so as important oil and gas are, are they worth the price of even one major earthquake?

After further studies, perhaps drilling away from fault lines may be found to be harmless. If not then we should perhaps seek other forms of energy with more relish.

Fossil fuels may already be harming our future; surely we cannot allow them to also harm our present.


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    • profile image

      Unknown 5 years ago

      The New Madrid Earthquake will be man made by Haarp

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Dear Friends ~ ptosis, Melis Ann, PagesVoice, Diogenes, Something blue, and Lyn ~ the tallies coming in from all points on the globe. We're in agreement. Are you involved with local organizations that can mandate NO DRILLING in your areas? Debby

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

      Since the 1970's, China has injected water into depleting oil fields to keep the "natural" pressure up in the oil reservoir for extracting more oil, "Earthquakes induced by water injection have occurred in four oil fields" -

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Hi Ken ~ Good report. Thanks. I have written extensively about Fracking here on Hubpages and also think it contributes to earthquakes. Blessings, Debby

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 5 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      I heard a report on NPR about this today ~ what a great topic for a hub. I was thinking the same thing when I heard the report: the evidence must be so overwhelming that there is no other choice than recognize that the oil and gas industry is responsible for man-made earthquakes. Otherwise, it seems that this information would be halted before reaching the public eye. Thanks for SHARING.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 5 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up and interesting. I live directly on the New York/Pennslvania State line and just a few miles from my home they are fracking their brains out. We have had tremors, and in Pennsylvania there have been toxic spills, polluted water wells, increased truck traffic and of course, an increase in crime. The oil and gas companies are buying locals and politicians alike. Just 2 weeks ago one gas company stated they were donating $25 million for a new hospital. Well, that's one way to earn favor with the locals. Lawns are plastered here with signs to frack and not to frack. Unfortunately, money talks. Some people in Pa. can't even shower with their water anymore, let alone drink it. It is a mess in my mind.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Yeah! Welcome to Britain, US miners. We have this crap going on in RIP (Rip off Britain) at the moment and all the sorry assed pigs are defending it with NO real studies or any idea what the earthquake risk is, or the long term damage to the ground water will be.

      This Tory government will allow anything that enriches their Oxbridge buds, and nothing for the long term benefit of the ordinary slobs. Sickening.

      Bob You got the vote on this one.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Although certainly a plausible theory and probable true to some extent it can't possible explain the increase Worldwide or even in the US for that matter.

      Consider that drilling for oil, water and methane empties huge caverns and leaves them empty and this has been going on since the late 1800's (Standard Oil owned by Rockefeller was created in 1870) this just weakens the Earth's mantle. So any Earthquake even small ones can be even more devastating.

      This is just a clever ruse by the USGS to deflect public opinion from the true cause of earthquakes World wide and in the US which have doubled since Oct. of last year.

      The Earth's core is heating up and has been doing so for the last ten years in earnest, is it a coincidence that this would begin with the suspicions of many that Nibiru is back and in our solar system?

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 5 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      voted up and interesting ... the govt in N.Z is allowing fracking to begin here even though there is a huge outcry.