Seismic risk of fracking has been wildly overstated

Dec 5 (Reuters) – Hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and gas has become closely associated in the public mind with the risk of triggering man-made earthquakes. But the risk is not high and it is not confined to fracking.

There may be greater danger from geothermal energy production and pumping carbon dioxide underground as part of carbon capture and storage projects.

Those are the findings of an authoritative study on the risk of man-made (“induced”) seismicity carried out by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences at the request of Congress (“Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies” 2012).

Environmentalists and community groups have seized on earthquake risk to oppose hydraulic fracturing in the United States and Western Europe.

Fracking fears appeared to be justified after a British government enquiry held the technology responsible for a series of tremors in April and May 2011 at Preese Hall near Blackpool, the largest of which had a magnitude of 2.3 on the Richter scale, big enough to be felt by local residents.

Read more at Reuters. By John Kemp.

Photo credit: darthpedrius (Creative Commons)

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