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Official Report:: Injection of Fracking Wastewater Caused Kansas’ Biggest Ever Earthquake

It has been officially recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that a massive earthquake in Kansas is linked to wastewater injection into deep underground wells. 

The earthquake was the largest ever recorder in Kansas, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, it struck northeast of Milan on Nov. 12, 2014. It happened in an unusual place for earthquakes to strike, it was also near to a known fracking site.

It was noted in the The Wichita Eagle most probably came from just one or two nearby wells. The quake, which is being described as ‘man-made’ hit 40 miles southwest of Wichita and was felt as far away as Memphis. They newspaper noted “one of those two wells, operated by SandRidge Energy, is still injecting water at the same level as when the earthquake occurred two years ago.”

The USGS have said it was triggered by wastewater injection because:
  • There had not previously been similar earthquakes in the area.
  • There were waste-water injection wells nearby.
  • The earthquake activity started after the amount of water injected in the wells increased.
  • There’s a piece of earth that could be activated by changes in pressure.

Kansas is well known for it’s fracking sites, the first well ever fracked in the United States happened in Kansas in 1947 and now nearly all of the 5,000 conventional wells drilled in Kansas every year are done by fracking.

Unfortunately, “induced” earthquakes are a devastating side-effect of fracking. Kansas has never been a place that suffered from earthquakes until very recently. 

Shockingly, the number of earthquakes Kansas jumped from only four in 2013 to 817 in 2014, The Washington Post reported.

There are, however, things being done to reduce the side effects of fracking. The Kansas Corporation Commission recommended reduce underground injection of oilfield wastewater which has lead to fewer and weaker earthquakes, but wouldn’t it be better to stop the fracking, and therefore the earthquakes altogether?

This quake in Milan and the record-breaking 5.8 earthquake that struck in Pawnee, Oklahoma last month occurred due to faults scientists didn’t previously even know existed.

“If the well is in the right place next to a fault and the fault is oriented the right way, a little change in stress could cause (an earthquake) to occur,” USGS geologist George Choy, the study’s lead author, told The Wichita Eagle. The study will be published next month in Seismological Research Letters

The study abstract says:

The source parameters and behavior of the Milan earthquake and foreshock–aftershock sequence are similar to characteristics of other earthquakes induced by wastewater injection into permeable formations overlying crystalline basement

SandRidge Energy is the biggest oil producer in Kansas and is the largest disposer of wastewater in Oklahoma. 

The company, that is based in Oklahoma refused to shut down or decrease wastewater injection  even though they were urged to, until they agreed to shut down wells and reduce the output of wastewater some months later.

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Official Report:: Injection of Fracking Wastewater Caused Kansas’ Biggest Ever Earthquake Official Report:: Injection of Fracking Wastewater Caused Kansas’ Biggest Ever Earthquake Reviewed by C C on 17:29:00 Rating: 5