Fracking linked to rise in Texas quakes

Reuters / Terry Wade

Another slam-dunk for the anti-fracking lobby, as new evidence draws a more direct link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes in North Texas. The study is the first time researchers were able to move past ‘possible’ and into ‘most likely’ causes.

The Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas conducted the work in partnership with USGS and the University of Texas. The study focused on a spate of earthquakes in the 2013-2014 period, near the city of Azle, and focused on creating a new model of induced seismicity — one involving comparisons in fluid pressure — unused in previous studies. Even though the work, published in the journal Nature Communications, concerns itself with the last two years, the quakes are considered to be only the latest cluster in a series that started in 2008.

Since then over 120 quakes hit North Texas. Prior to that year, scientists write, a felt earthquake had not been reported in the area in nearly 60 years. Texas pushes forward with bill that would ban fracking ban SMU seismologists studied two intersecting faults and 3D-mapped the area to assess the degree to which fluid pressure played a part.