VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Environmentalists have been voicing concerns for decades, but now, there is another suggestion that there is a link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes.
A new study involving scientists with the federal government, universities and agencies finds fracking has likely contributed to tremors in Western Canada.
When looking at earthquakes in parts of BC and Alberta over about the last five years, the scientists were able to find links to fracking with most of them.
“If you look at earthquakes, the vast majority of these induced earthquakes appear to be related to fracking rather than wastewater disposal — that’s one of the most significant findings that we have reported in this particular article, but it’s not vice-versa. So, if you look at it the other way around — if you say ‘Okay, I’m looking at the number of frackings’ — then the actual fracking events that have caused induced earthquakes is very small,” says Honn Kao with the Geological Survey of Canada.
“I think that’s why I think this study is important and this study has very important implications to seismic hazard assessment to the region. And that’s why we, as a large group with government scientists, researchers at universities and so on, think that collectively our study has indicated a very clear connection between hydraulic and induced earthquakes,” he adds.
Kao notes earthquakes linked to fracking are often very localized, and many sites are in remote areas, so there isn’t much of a risk to people in cities.
“We hope that we can provide what we call ‘observation-based’ conclusions to provincial regulators and regulatory agencies.”
Fracking is the process where sand, water or chemicals are injected into rocks to get to oil and natural gas.