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FYI

The CBC reports that Fracking causes earthquakes, studies confirm.

Wow, who would have expected that injecting fluid into sedimentary rock with sufficient energy to shatter the rock layers might cause earthquakes? [/snark]

The real question is how ignorant to do you have to be not to realize that this would be an obvious outcome of the process? The layers are under stress from the continual movement of the various tectonic plates. If you shatter the rock that makes up one to those plates, the stress will be released. That is pretty much a textbook definition of an earthquake … and the process of fracking.

4 comments

1 jams o donnell { 04.18.12 at 5:43 am }

I saw in the Telegraph yesterday that the UK could become a “fracking”country (as opposed to the other word starting in f and ending in cking).

The UK may not be prone to big earthquakes (the biggest ever on land is about Mag 5 and offshore Mag 6 as happened in the North Sea in the 30s) but there is no doubt tat something like fracking could open old faults. Something we should think twice about.

2 Bryan { 04.18.12 at 9:52 am }

Mountains are caused by stress pushing the land up. if you have mountains you have earthquake potential. It is a really bad idea, especially when we HAVE TO stop using hydrocarbons for energy.

If an area isn’t used to earthquakes, the buildings aren’t designed for them, so even small quakes will have very bad results in terms of damage and injuries.

3 Steve Bates { 04.18.12 at 5:22 pm }

In my years of contracting for the “awl bidness,” I worked with a lot of kinds of oilmen… petroleum engineers, IT people and even safety experts. Never once did I hear anyone express the thought that someday their “energy” company might turn into something besides an “oil” company. Never once. To hear them tell it, their job was to find ways to drain the Earth of oil, utterly and completely, come what may. That was the early 1990’s; I doubt things have changed even now.

And a safety engineer’s job was not necessarily to make procedures safer (though some of that did go on) but to make sure blame for mishaps was assigned elsewhere. Contractor companies, the kind that work on drilling sites, were a frequent target for blame, and I can’t even say the safety folks were wrong about that.

The most amusing concept I was ever asked to write code for had to do with “exceedances”: spills, etc. The concept, invented (I think) by one of the safety engineers, was “opportunities for exceedance.” [ExceedAnce? ExceedEnce? I could never get a straight answer, and it’s not in my dictionary.] Anyway, the safety guy’s idea was to divide the actual number of spills on a site by the maximum number of spills you could allow to occur before the guvmint charged you with a violation. It made for a smaller number to use in presentations to the suits. “CYA” is far too kind a description…

4 Bryan { 04.19.12 at 12:01 am }

If a few BP executives had gone to prison after the Texas City refinery explosion, there may not have been a blow out in the Gulf. As long as corporations and their executives don’t go to prison, no one will take safety or rules seriously.

If corporate boards and CEOs can interfere in US elections, they should be subject to prison, like any other ‘person’.

That is safety; that is cost/benefit analysis. As long as it is cheaper to pay fines when the kill people or the environment, there is no reason for them to care.