Could Fracking Lead To Massive Earthquakes In North Dakota?
Other state's in the nation have had fracking-linked systemic activity, which begs the question if a big one could happen in our area anytime because of it.
Although fracking has been connected to earthquakes in the past, scientists believe that even tiny seismic tremors can be caused by the drilling process.
Drillers use hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to inject fluids underground in order to break through hard rock and access natural gas and oil below.
Earthquakes may be caused by the pressure created by this process and the subterranean disposal of the wastewater that is produced as a result. Previous studies connected the fracking boom of the 2000s to an unprecedented number of earthquakes in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, but they were unable to ascertain whether fracking also resulted in softer tremors.
It was difficult to discern minute tremors brought on by fracking from other vibrations based on seismometer data.
In Oklahoma, which has the most induced earthquakes in the United States, 2% of earthquakes can be linked to hydraulic fracturing operations.
Tectonic plates make up the Earth. Fault lines exist where these plates converge. The San Andreas Fault Line in California is the most well-known in the country. It is the most active region for our nation and divides the Pacific and North American plates. Ninety percent of Earth's earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, which is where they happen.
Violent and fatal earthquakes can occur along the San Andreas fault line. Consider San Francisco in 1989 as an example. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake resulted in approximately 3,800 injuries, 63 fatalities, and property damage estimated at $6 billion. There was only a fifteen-second earthquake.
You may recall the August 2011 east coast earthquake, which was a noteworthy and recent event. With a magnitude of 5.8, it was located in central Virginia. It took nearly two years to repair the Washington Monument's cracks and other damage. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries and no fatalities, but the damage was estimated to be worth $200 million and was felt in 12 states.
According to the North Dakota Geological Survey, an earthquake typically occurs in our state or is recorded from a distance once every ten years. In the history of the record, there have been 13; the majority have had magnitudes less than 3.7.
On July 8, 1968, in Huff, the strongest earthquake ever measured in North Dakota was recorded at a magnitude of 4.4. It was not at all violent. The capital city's citizens were startled, and it shook, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
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