Research now reveals that wastewater from fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a
town in Ohio that had no known past quakes.
Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, which is located on the Marcellus Shale, had never experienced an earthquake, at least not since researchers began observations in 1776. However, in December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online to pump wastewater from fracking projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes, the strongest registering a magnitude-3.9 earthquake on Dec. 31, 2011. The well was shut down after the quake.
The first earthquake recorded in Youngstown occurred 13 days after pumping began, and the tremors ceased shortly after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down the well in December 2011. In addition, dips in earthquake activity lined up with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and other times when injection at the well was temporarily stopped.
The earthquakes were apparently centered in an ancient fault near the Northstar 1 well. Pressure apparently caused this fault to rupture. The quakes crept from east to west down the length of the fault — away from the well — throughout the year, a sign that they were caused by a traveling front of pressure generated by the injected fluid.
Sep. 4th 2013.