Study links wastewater injection to earthquakes

By on March 29, 2013

According to Columbia University, a university-led study is the latest linking the underground injection of natural gas and conventional oil drilling wastewater to earthquakes.

To dispose of wastewater, energy companies often inject it back underground for waste storage. However, scientists have found that disruptions from underground wastewater storage have sparked an 11-fold increase from the three decades prior in the number of earthquakes occurring in the normally stable states of Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and Colorado.

Researchers studied the aftermath of a magnitude 5.7 earthquake recorded in 2011 near Prague, Okla., concluding that it was one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded to be linked with wastewater storage.

Image: Oil rig in Saline Township, Michigan (Credit: Dwight Burdette, Wikimedia Commons)

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