Two independent research groups revealed that disposal of wastewater used in the process of gas extraction triggers shifts in earthquakes epicenters and initiates ground-shaking in areas, where it has not occurred before.
As part of a study conducted by seismologists from Columbia University, wastewater disposal due to fracking was found to have triggered a series of earthquakes in the area of Youngstown, Ohio, with epicenters located within a mile of injection wells. Similarly, researchers from University of Texas linked increased seismic activity to the extensive use of water as part of the gas extraction near Eagle Ford formation in Texas.
Although most of the earthquakes that have been detected were not strong enough to be felt on the surface, the risk of water contamination and property damage in a long term might become quite apparent.
To further strengthen the case, it is interesting to report on the outcome of a lawsuit in Arkansas not long ago. Here, the U.S. geological survey linked a series of small earthquakes to fracking waste disposal. Unfortunately for Chesapeake Energy and BHP Billiton, twenty five residents have filed complains for property damage compensations, out of which five have already settled for quite a significant sum.
The process of fracking, which was initially developed to assist the geothermal industry, is now turning out to go directly against it. Quite ironic, really, but considering that it is a relatively new technique, it is somehow ignorant not to take into account the new emerging scientific evidence against it.