FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A paper published on Monday in the Geophysical Research Letters suggests the likelihood of an artificial earthquake is heavily influenced by how stable the ground was before the energy industry showed up.
Honn Kao, a seismologist with the Geological Survey of Canada and lead author, says the link between fracking and earthquakes is quite strong in Fort St. John.
“There are a large number of hydraulic fracking operations in the area and what we observed is that these hydraulic fracking operations tend to increase or disturb the stress field in the region and that is responsible for the occurrence of induced earthquakes”, said Kao.
Kao points out that the study also realized that not all hydraulic fracking operations actually cause earthquakes.
“We should be cautious that not all fracking causes earthquakes. That’s actually an important point out not only this study but also in previous studies”, said Kao. “When you see large induced earthquakes, it definitely is related to injection but when you actually have a large injection quite often you don’t see induced earthquakes. It actually requires a specific combination of all of these different factors together to actually cause an earthquake”.
Kao says one factor, which is the main conclusion of the study, is that the regional tectonic deformation rate is an important factor in determining the overall pattern of induced earthquakes within the region.
To see the full article on the link between fracking and earthquakes, from the Canadian Press, you can read it here.