Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fracking hazards--earthquakes and contamination

Once again, my news sources are telling me to pay attention to a topic again, as I'm reading stories on it from two sources on consecutive weeks.  This time, it's fracking.  I'll violate my "if it moves, it leads" policy by presenting the text story first.

LiveScience: Wastewater Injection Triggered Oklahoma's Earthquake Cascade
By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer
March 07, 2014 01:58pm ET
One of Oklahoma's biggest man-made earthquakes, caused by fracking-linked wastewater injection, triggered an earthquake cascade that led to the damaging magnitude-5.7 Prague quake that struck on Nov. 6, 2011, a new study confirms.

The findings suggest that even small man-made earthquakes, such as those of just a magnitude 1 or magnitude 2, can trigger damaging quakes, said study co-author Elizabeth Cochran, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Even if wastewater injection only directly affects a low-hazard fault, those smaller events could trigger an event on a larger fault nearby," she told Live Science.
Not all hazards are direct.  In this case, it's the disposal of the used fracking fluids that is causing the problem.  It's a good example of "everything is connected to everything else," "there is no away; everything must go somewhere," and "there is no free lunch."

Next, Virginia Tech posted two videos on groundwater contamination research from fracking last week. The first is Hydraulic Fracturing Research - Virginia Tech.

John Chermak, associate professor of practice in geosciences, investigates the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing on the environment. By analyzing shale samples drawn from miles below the Earth's surface, his research team can examine if and how trace elements are released in the energy production process commonly known as fracking.
Next, a video about contamination that may occur because of fracking, but is even more likely to happen naturally: Groundwater/Rock Interactions - Virginia Tech.

Arsenic can be found in many minerals contained in aquifers but this harmful element does not always contaminate groundwater within the aquifer. Madeline Schreiber, associate professor of hydrogeosciences, investigates the complex relationship between groundwater and the aquifers they flow through.
This concludes the most recent demonstration of Commoner's Laws in fracking and how Fracking as a bad T in I=P*A*T.

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