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Oil And Gas Drilling Linked To More Frequent Earthquakes

posted 11 Feb 2014, 18:25 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 Feb 2014, 18:26 ]

 USA (Next Media) -  Scientists have discovered that oil and gas drilling are linked to earthquakes in areas previously with no earthquake activity.

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The study, which was conducted by researchers from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, found that in Texas, which has been experiencing a boom in oil and gas drilling, the number of quakes has increased tenfold compared with just a few years ago, NPR reported.

During operation, the drilling rig will pump large amounts of wastewater underground and store the water in injection wells. It will exert extra pressure along fault lines, increasing the frequency of quakes.

The animation depicts the radiation of body waves: p-waves and s-waves. The former travel faster and people can hear a thunder-like sound as the energy waves push and pull the rock, while the latter are stronger but move more slowly.

In large-scale quakes, the resultant seismic waves could also trigger smaller quakes in sites dotted with injection wells.

SOURCE: NPR, Time, The New York Times, Michigan Tech