Seismologist claim that recent earthquakes happening in areas where there is fracking activities are caused by injecting waste water into disposal wells. Fracking disposes its waste water by injecting them into wells drilled deep underground. There has been a significant increase on the number of earthquakes happening today, compared in the past years. Fault lines that were not known or identified are now visible in seismology researches. Many of these new fault lines are recorded to be very near fracking sites.
With the fracking boom, several wells are need to dispose of the water used in the drilling process. Once the wastewater comes to the surface, it has to be disposed of. Driller inject the waste water into wells which are as deep as 13,000 feet below.
Negative Effects of Fracking on the Tectonic Plates
- Some disposal wells are drilled on fault lines or near them. When waste water is sent underground, liquid and pressure travel into a stuck fault. It wants to move but it cannot. It gets stuck up. When more waste water is pumped into it, the fault slips and the ground moves, creating an earthquake.
- When injected fluids reach and relieves friction on a fault nearby that is already ready to slip, then an earthquake happens.
- Natural earthquakes happening near the well will most probably hurt the well and leaks may happen. Water then travels and find another fault where it will release the plates, causing them to slip.
Although seismologists cannot categorically say that fracking can cause earthquakes, but they can induce man-made earthquakes. Actually there is nothing to fear. Most of these recorded earthquakes are only small tremors. But they may in the long run create great ones. However fracking companies have many options to avoid them.
- They could lessen the amount of waste water injected into disposal wells. They could send it to treatment plants. This is more beneficial because once the water is treated and made clean, it can be returned to the rivers. Thus avoiding permanent removal of water from its natural source.
- They could make a feasibility study whether the area to be drilled is near fault lines. If so these areas must be avoided.
- They must ensure that their wells are efficiently constructed so that there must be no leakage of the waste water. If there is leakage, waste water will travel and create a stuck fault and affect fault lines.