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New Study Links Small Quakes To Fracking In Ohio

A Pennsylvania gas well.  fracking drilling
Gerry Dincher
/
Flickr/Creative Commons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new study suggests that fracking triggered hundreds of too-small-to-be-felt earthquakes in eastern Ohio late last year, months before the state first linked seismic activity to the oil-and-gas extraction technique.

The study, in the journal Seismological Research Letters, identified nearly 400 tremors on a previously unmapped fault in Harrison County between Oct. 1 and Dec. 13, 2013. That included 10 quakes of magnitudes of 1.7 to 2.2 — significantly more intense than expected, though still minor.

The quakes fell along a fault lying directly under three hydraulic fracturing operations and tended to coincide with nearby activity.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the state installed sensitive seismic monitors in the area over the past year and is keeping close watch.