Seven million Americans could be in danger from man-made earthquakes created by fracking, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has concluded.
Incredibly, the risk from fracking-induced damaging quakes in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas is now similar to what it is for natural quakes in California.
Around seven million people in six states — Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas — are in danger from fracking quakes, new USGS research indicates. Significantly, the data is referencing damaging earthquakes, and not simply quakes that are felt but cause no problems.
“In the past five years, the USGS has documented high shaking and damage in areas of these six states, mostly from induced earthquakes,” Mark Petersen of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project said. “Furthermore, the USGS ‘Did You Feel It?’ website has archived tens of thousands of reports from the public who experienced shaking in those states, including about 1,500 reports of strong shaking or damage.”
The USGS released a statement saying that people “living in areas of higher earthquake hazard should learn how to be prepared for earthquakes” – a warning that people in few of the six states thought they’d ever need to address.
“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the US,” Petersen said. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”
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