Category Archives: earthquakes

Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?

Sixty Minutes sent a reporter to Oklahoma to find out if the significant upswing of earthquakes being experienced there is the result of fracking. He interviewed a number of home owners and a visiting geologist, and they convinced him that, yes, fracking is the cause.

Steven Hayward of “” located a video from Stanford University’s Department of Earth Science that says their study finds that fracking is not the cause.

Before you view the 4 minute video, it probably will be helpful to have a little background on “produced water” which is central to the topic.

When wells are drilled they often encounter water which comes up with the oil or natural gas. This water is usually salty and/or has other contaminates so it can not be used for agriculture. This water is typically reinjected into the well for disposal. But sometimes the quantity is too great and other means of disposal must be found. Underground disposal in sites drilled deeply into the Earth is often used for this purpose. Produced water has long disposed of in this manner.

Other details about produced water will be provided after you see the video. Please note the speaker is very clear that the fracking is not the problem.

More background:

John Veil at the Ground Water Protection Council—Underground Injection Control Conference in February 2015 presented “New Information On Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices”.

There are nearly 1 million oil and gas wells in the US that generate large volumes of Produced Water.

He reported the estimated volume of produce water in 2007 21 billion bbl for the year.

Ninety-eight percent goes into injection wells.

His summary for the period from 2007 to 2012

US oil production increased by 29%.

US gas production increased by 22%

US produced water decreased by 2.4%

Viel notes:

Here is my hypothesis

  • Conventional production generates a small initial volume of water that gradually increases over time. The total lifetime water production from each well can be high
  • Unconventional production from shales and coal seams generates a large amount of produced water initially but the volume drops off, leading to a low lifetime water production from each well
  • Between 2007 and 2012, many new unconventional wells were placed into service and many old conventional wells (with high water cuts) were taken out of service
  • The new wells generated more hydrocarbon for each unit of water than the older wells they replaced.

So the conventional wells with hig levels of produced water were replace by fracked wells that generate less produced water per unit of production.

So, yes oil production, if ceased,  would probably make a big reduction in Oklahoma eartthquates. But fracking per se has not caused the problem. The  energy that is being released little by little will probably benefit someone  in the future.  I suspect if I lived there it would not be a big selling point. But of course,  oil and gas production are  the  big selling points to the people in the “oil patch.”



Plate Climatology Theory

ClimateChangeDispatch posted “Global Warming and Plate Climatology Theory” on 7 October 2014.   The posting was written by James Edward Kamis, a Geologist who says he believes there is a probable connection between Geology and Climate. He begins this discussion of his theory by saying:

“The Sun, quite obviously, is the first order driver of Earth’s climate, but a much neglected second order driver can contribute significantly to short-term variations. The theory proposed herein is that periods of active Earth tectonism can be correlated to periods of active climate change and climate related events.

Increased global tectonic activity equates to more faulting and crustal plate movement, which leads to more global heat release from faults, fractures and volcanoes that are more active.

Altered heat input equates to climate change.


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Are Seafloor Volcanoes Altering The Climate?

I have received some interesting email of late that states that seafloor volcanoes are altering the Globe’s climate. So, I have been combing through the internet to see what I could find on this topic.

One theory is that seafloor volcanoes are more active in the time of glaciations than at time of the warming period in between. The thinking is that the increased weight of the ocean’s water, as it rises due to glaciers melting, reduces the activity of the many seafloor volcanoes.   The converse is true about the land-based volcanoes that would become more active as the weight of the glacial ice disappears. The ash emitted from land-based volcanoes can cause cooling of the atmosphere but seafloor ash does not get into the atmosphere.

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Mayan Apocalypse And Earth’s Magnetic Field Reversal

NASA issued a bulletin that reviews the worried inquires people have made relative to the Mayan Apocalypse.  The “apocalypse” is that the Earth will end on 21 December 2012  when the Mayan 5125 year Long Count calendar ends. NASA said that a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru or  a disastrous crash with a comet are not going to happen.   Nibiru is supposed to be hiding behind the Sun. NASA says there is no planet hiding behind the Sun.  NASA also: “… rejected apocalyptic theories about unusual alignments of the planets, or that the Earth’s magnetic poles could suddenly “flip.”polarflips285px-Geomagnetic_polarity_late_Cenozoic
I am intrigued by the magnetic field flip. The North and South magnetic poles have flipped a number of times over the 5 billion year history of the Earth.  But generally scientists concur that the most recent flip occurred some 800,000+ years ago.  There are people that believe the magnetic poles have flipped much more recently.  One author, Robert Felix says, for example, that 11,000 years ago as well as 23,000 and 33,500 years ago, the polarity flipped.  He correlates these times with ice ages, eruptions of super volcanos and species mutations.
The legend on the chart to the right: Geomagnetic polarity during the late Cenozoic Era. Dark areas denote periods where the polarity matches today’s polarity, light areas denote periods where that polarity is reversed. (from Wikipedia–Click on chart to improve clarity)

Visual Comparison of Earthquake Strength

The Atlantic has posted “An Excellent Visual Comparison of Earthquake Strength” in their online magazine.  Click the link below.  But first a little background on the Richter Scale to help you gauge the size of an earthquake.

The Richter Scale, used to gauge the energy contained in an earthquake, is a logarithmic scale, not a linear scale.  According to Wiki,  an earthquake that measures 5 on the Richter Scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger and corresponds to an energy release that is 31.6 time greater than one that measures 4 on the Richter Scale.  Every step up in a whole number is a ten-fold increase in the size and severity of the quake.

Click  here to see Atlantic’s visual comparison: