Fracking ‘not significant’ cause of large earthquakes

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New research suggests that fracking is not a significant cause of earthquakes that can be felt on the surface.

UK scientists looked at quakes caused by human activity ranging from mining to oil drilling; only three could be attributed to hydraulic fracturing.

Most fracking events released the same amount of energy as jumping off a ladder, the Durham-based team said.

They argue that the integrity of well bores drilled for fracking is of much greater concern.

The research is published in the Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology .

In recent years, hydraulic fracturing has become a significant means of recovering oil and gas that is too tightly bound into rock formations to be recovered by normal drilling.

Fracking, as it is called, utilises a mixture of water, sand and chemicals pumped underground at high pressure to crack open sedimentary rocks and release the fuels within.

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Earth movers

But opponents of fracking have long been concerned that the process could induce earthquakes such as the one that occurred near a shale gas operation in Lancashire in 2011.

Read full story on BBC  here

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