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Earth Power Technology

Earthquakes That May Be Related To Fracking Close Ohio Oil Well 299

Frosty P writes "State leaders have ordered that four fluid-injection wells ('fracking') in eastern Ohio will be indefinitely prohibited from opening in the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area, an official said. A 4.0-magnitude quake struck Saturday afternoon near several wells that use 'fracking' to release oil deposits. It was the 11th in a series of minor earthquakes in the area."
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Earthquakes That May Be Related To Fracking Close Ohio Oil Well

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  • This seems... (Score:3, Informative)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @10:56AM (#38563102) Homepage Journal
    .... fragile and precarious victory of common sense over big money. Fragile and precarious, yet a victory.
  • by phrostie ( 121428 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:08AM (#38563172)

    The media keeps mixing and confusing fracking with saltwater disposal wells. (remember how much they confuse hackers and crackers)

    Fracking is a one time process for increasing porosity of a formation immediately around the well at the time of completion.

    A saltwater disposal well is normally a well(oil or gas) that has played out and is used to return unwanted saltwater back where it came from.

    Fracking only affects an area within a few hundred feet of the well.

  • Re:This seems... (Score:5, Informative)

    by hoboroadie ( 1726896 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:11AM (#38563182)

    I would modestly propose Nationalization of the Federal Reserve, as they seem to keep turning up at the various crime scenes.

  • The article itself notes that earthquakes have occurred in that part of Ohio for nearly two centuries, and its size was well beyond the quite small theoretical maximum that could be induced by fracking []. Extensive studies [] of fracking have shown no evidence of the contamination scare stories environmentalists have been pushing.

    The people opposing fracking are the same people opposed to all uses of oil and as power sources.

  • by arpad1 ( 458649 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:28AM (#38563298)

    Not so much a hoax as an example of pandering to hysteria.

    The wells haven't been opened yet so unless the earth can be frightened into producing an earthquake at the prospect of a fluid injection well the wells could hardly have had anything to do with the earthquake.

    So yeah, it is a fragile and precarious victory since it's based fear-mongering. But then if you don't have the science on your side what are the alternatives to whipping up fear?

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:43AM (#38563406) Homepage Journal

    They still drill in The Geysers because the resulting quakes are predictably minor and the geothermal energy harvested is much more economically important than cracked foundations, paying millions in claims or not.

    Actually, it isn't. The generation facility at The Geysers has never been profitable. It has always been under production and over budget. It must be seen as a failure on all levels. We don't even have reliable power in Middletown, for fuck's sake, let alone the rest of the county.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:52AM (#38563486) Homepage

    Having an opinion doesn't make one a shill or a troll, especially when there's as much evidence supporting his opinion as your own. The problem is there's absurdly little research from both the pro- and anti-fracking camps. On the one hand, Ohio's seismic activity has increased lately. On the other hand, it has been very inactive since the 1930's, and still remains relatively stable today. Then, of course, there's the possibility (mentioned many times already in this discussion) that releasing pressure could reduce the risk of a larger earthquake.

    Comparing Ohio's seismic activity to California is ridiculous. In Ohio, the last big earthquake in 1937 toppled a few weak chimneys. In California, an equivalent earthquake (magnitude 5.4) happened in July of 2010. The faults in Ohio, even when active, pale in comparison to California's eternal fear of the next "big one".

    There's no consensus among relevant experts about fracking's effects, but there's plenty of people willing to protest vehemently one way or the other. GP is right to call this out as fear-mongering.

  • by phrostie ( 121428 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:33PM (#38563884)

    you can't pump it into just any formation.

    formations that contain fresh water or may migrate to such a formation are deemed off limits.

    even drilling through a freshwater formation is strickly controlled and requires additional layers of surface casing(pipe within pipe and concrete).

  • Youngstown (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:34PM (#38563898)

    To those saying that earthquakes here are common, I live in Youngstown, and we have never had a locally originated seismic event. But as of March, we've had 11 quakes with epicenters near the well that has been shut down.

  • Re:This seems... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:58PM (#38564134) Homepage

    Ohio is on many small faults, the largest of which is the New Madrid fault. There are a few dozen significant earthquakes each year, the vast majority of which cannot be felt.

    Despite what you "would think", data is easy to find [].

  • Re:This seems... (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:40PM (#38564484)

    New Madrid is NOT a small fault. It's a huge fault.

    One of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded in North America occurred on that fault.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:47PM (#38564554) Homepage

    The fracking debate currently has little to do with logic. There's precious little actual evidence of causing harm (or evidence of causing no harm), and the regulators know this. That's why they resist making regulations, even though it's pissing off the general public who just want to see anything happen. Meanwhile, the industry just continues operating as normal. So far, the vast majority of studies (from both sides) conclude nothing one way or the other. Those that do (again, in both directions) are deeply flawed, lacking silly things like control groups.

    By my understanding, it would be trivially simple for the energy industry to run a causative study, by testing the output of several wells near a fracking site before and after any fracking operation. The company knows where they're building their new well, and could spend a few hundred thousand dollars of their propaganda budget to drill a well and run some tests. Of course, they never will out of fear that something bad might be discovered, and even if there was no evidence of contamination, the study would never be believed by the anti-fracking protesters.

    Within the last month, the EPA announced that it found the first case of a water supply being contaminated by fracking, in a community near a shallow fracking well. The EPA itself has stated that the study needs still more review and reconsideration before it should be used as a basis for any regulations. Of course, both sides have already fired up their most imaginative writers, either condemning the study or overstating its significance.

    I can't tell if you intend to include environmentalists in your classification of "everyone with an agenda", but it would certainly be justified. There's enough propaganda from both sides of the science-free debate to disrupt honest attempts at science. It's sickening.

  • Re:This seems... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:22PM (#38565236)

    27% ??? That's nothing compared to what you have to pay in Europe. Consider yourself lucky.

    Of course, in Europe, you also get your health care included in those taxes.

  • Re:This seems... (Score:4, Informative)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:17PM (#38565682) Homepage Journal

    And in some US states (California for example), a family spends 20% of its income on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses [Source: "Family health care premiums exceed 20% of income", San Francisco Chronicle November 11, 2011]. Between 2003 and 2010, premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for employees has risen by 63% [Source:C. Schoen, A.-K. Fryer, S. R. Collins, and D. C. Radley, State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003–2010: The Need for Action to Address Rising Costs, The Commonwealth Fund, November 2011].

    Basically, we were on track (pre Obama-care) to spending 50% of our incomes on health care by 2025 or so. Given the cautious, incremental nature of Obama-care, it would be remarkable if it managed to cut that rate of cost growth in half, but even then it would be pointed to as a miserable failure. If it is stripped of its individual mandate, then Obama-care is likely to have no effect at all. The prospect for robust employment recovery in this situation is bleak, since the marginal cost of hiring an employee is high and riding.

    So basically, the health care cost crisis has us over a barrel, and Europe is spread-eagled by the sovereign debt crisis. We'll recover, but we aren't going to see the kind of economic growth we took for granted in the second half of the 20th C, because the solutions to our respective crises are politically unpopular.

  • Re:This seems... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ravenshrike ( 808508 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:19PM (#38566594)

    Um, no. Completely excise defense spending, but leave the taxes from it in, and we are still running a deficit, especially with all the new spending instituted by Obama.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."