Does fracking cause earthquakes? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Does fracking cause earthquakes?

TIMPSON, TX (KSLA) -

The 2 recent back to back earthquakes in Timpson, Texas had some viewers asking KSLA News 12 if the oil and natural gas activity in the area had anything to do with it.

Many people in Timpson don't remember the last time earthquakes shook the ground in their area before last week, but there has been a history. There was a small quake in 1981, several within a few months in the mid 60's, and even one dating back to the late 1800's.

That history is why the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says it doesn't think the fracking has anything to do with the earthquakes.

"If earthquakes are caused by fracking, then were those earthquakes in the 1800's preemptive earthquakes because they knew fracking was coming? It's a silly comparison," says Ragan Dickens with LOGA.

Just last month, the Interior Department Deputy Secretary, David Haynes was quoted saying,"there is no evidence to suggest that hydraulic fracturing itself is the cause of the increased rate of earthquakes."

During the process of fracking, workers fill spaces in the ground with water and sand.

Ben McGee with the U.S. Geological Survey says while fracking may not cause the quakes, it can contribute.

"Of course you have to have a fault present to have movement along a fault, but water or fluid injected into the earth in the vicinity of faults of in faults increase the likelihood that those faults will move," says McGee.

McGee says there may be another man made reason for the series of quakes in the 60s, too. "Probably back to when Toledo Bend and the Sam Rayburn Reservoir were being filled," says McGee.

Mcgee says there's a chance that East Texas could see more earthquakes in the near future,  but historically quakes in the ArkLaTex are lower magnitude so they don't cause serious damage or injury.

Copyright 2012 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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