Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in 3.0+ Earthquakes – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic

7 Apr

A new United States Geological Survey study has found that middle America between Alabama and Montana is experiencing an “unprecedented” and “almost certainly manmade” increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2011, there were 134 events of that size. That’s six times more than were normally seen during the 20th century.

Whoops! But you can guess where this is going, can’t you? Anthropogenetic earthquakes. We’re causing this because we’re walking too heavy on the earth. At least, that’s one view.

The conclusion that at least one environmental group has drawn from this data is that fracking, in one way or another, has caused these earthquakes. The Environmental Working Group notes that more than 400,000 wells were drilled between 2001 and 2010, a 65% increase over the previous ten-year period. They also note that the new extraction techniques require vast amounts of water to be injected into the ground: major producer Chesapeake estimates that it uses about 5 million gallons of water per well. Lots of wells plus lots of water injected underground could change the subterranean conditions and lead to more earthquakes.

While we’re at it, why not set off some nuclear power plants?

via Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in 3.0+ Earthquakes – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

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