Geologists Argue that Fracking Activities are Causing Earthquakes

by Project Censored
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Peer reviewed studies argue that wastewater disposal methods associated with shale gas hydrofracking activities, better known as “fracking,” are linked to earthquakes.  New evidence links deep injection disposal of toxic fracking wastewater to small earthquakes in areas where earthquakes were not previously common.  While only two such quakes were large enough to shake buildings, they both occurred within the past two years. Geologists argue that wastewater injected deep beneath the surface lubricates geological fault lines, undoing the friction that holds them in place, in some cases allowing them to slip. This slip, when large enough, is what we term an earthquake.  The increased prevalence of these quakes, along with a significant rise in minor seismic activity, has been occurring near fracking operations in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas, in regions we don’t commonly associate with earthquake activity. An Associated Press report shared by CBS News under the headline “Fed report: Fracking not likely to cause quakes,” typifies corporate media misinformation on this subject. The 743 word story purports to summarize a 239 page National Academy of Sciences report that clearly states that “increased seismic activity” in the aforementioned states is “related to waste water disposal associated with oil and gas production.”


Jessica Leber, “Studies Link Earthquakes to Fracking,” MIT Technology Review, December 14, 2012,

National Academy of Sciences, “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies.” The National Academies Press, 2012.

Kelly Connelly, David Barer, and Yana Skorobofato, “How Oil and Gas Disposal Wells can Cause Earthquakes.” StateImpact (NPR), February 11, 2013,

Alyssa Battistoni, “Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?” Mother Jones, April 16, 2012,

Mike Ludwig, “Injection Well Linked to Destructive Earthquake in Oklahoma, Raising New Fracking Fears,” Truthout, March 29, 2013.

Associated Press Washington, “Fed report: Fracking not likely to cause quakes.” CBSNews, June 15, 2012,

Student Researchers: Sheldon Anderson, Monica Kemper, Tajh Lewis, Shatai Melvin, and Eric Rose (SUNY Buffalo State)

Faculty Evaluator: Dr. Michael I. Niman (SUNY Buffalo State)