Monday, July 15, 2013

Energy policy on shaky ground

The science is catching up on this issue.  Fracking is increasing the number of earthquakes.  Fracturing rock formations then bloating the zone with high pressure liquids  changes the support structure in the area surrounding the well.  This is now shown to increase the number of quakes in two ways.  New pressures cause quakes at or near the well site for one.

The more exciting discovery is that quakes at the well area are caused by the larger quakes at any point on the globe.  When the really big ones occur they are detected on most every seismograph in the world, that's how within a minute or two they triangulate the hardest hit area.  Within seconds shock waves travel on the earths mantel, causing in some cases whole tectonic plates to move a few millimeters or mountains to rise or fall an inch.  Now it is documented that these really big quakes thousands of miles away are setting off quakes in the fracking fields, sometimes instantly, sometimes in the hours or days following.  Scientist say it's like a sponge under there, the tremors shake the stones and flush the liquids around.  These pressures cause formations to shift, sometimes with a jolt, a secondary earthquake.  I live 200 miles from a hotspot of fracking, my area never had quakes you could feel, until last year we had the first, since then 4 I could feel, a quick rolling motion, smooth but sudden.
This is the new cost of oil and gas.  You don't pay it at the pump, but to the insurance company, or to the contractor repairing your foundation.  The drilling industry won't be helping out on this, their too busy cashing checks.

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