Earthquake felt Sunday morning (March 10) near Rocky Mountain House, Alta., Excellent well-researched comments by Diana Daunheimer, Alberta farmer and mother of two

Comments by Diana Daunheimer are more informative than the article:

Diana Daunheimer @Walter Winchell

Interactive map available here as well:

Bottom of page at link above, you can access an excel spreadsheet where the AER keeps a list of all frack quakes in MD of Fox Creek since 2015, about a 1000 there.

Diana Daunheimer @Walter Winchell


“While Alberta has been historically seismically quiet, the change in numbers of recorded earthquakes over time is worthy of study and attention. For example, Alberta experienced a significant increase in seismic activity from the mid- to late 70s. Between 1918 and the mid-60s, the branch of the federal government now known as Earthquakes Canada recorded less than a dozen minor earthquakes in Alberta. Monitoring of seismic activity within Alberta began in earnest during the mid-60s with the installation of several seismographs. Prior to 1975, these instruments recorded less than 20 earthquakes yearly. From 1977, there was a notable increase in recorded events.”

Seismic monitoring has advanced and increased over time. Increased seismic activity in RMH has been attirbuted to natural gas activites:

“The increase in seismicity south west of Rocky Mountain House, starting in the mid-70s, prompted studies centered on data collected over a 23 day field campaign, operated by the Geological Survey of Canada and the University of Alberta. The Rocky Mountain House cluster studies documented the first evidence of induced seismicity related to hydrocarbon production in Alberta.”

Brazeau cluster, it’s injection:

“In a case of induced seismicity near a disposal well, an AGS study of the Brazeau River Cluster found that “it is likely that the Brazeau River Cluster events were induced by injection activities.” Specifically, it was found that seismicity started 3 years after the first injection “We find that the first statistically significant increase in seismicity lags the onset of wastewater injection (October 1991) by ~3.33 years.”

And Cardston/Fox Creek is fracking.

“More recently, clusters of earthquakes in previously seismically quiet areas near Cardston and Fox Creek have been tentatively linked to hydraulic fracturing operations. Currently, the Alberta Earthquake Studies Project is working to characterize and better understand induced seismicity in Alberta.”

So while seismicity has been monitored since the 1900’s, natural events make up a small portion of the provinces seismic activity, particularly, since the 70’s and even more so, since the 2000’s.

The nature and intensity of seismicity in Alberta is changing, almost exclusively due to industrial activities.

Ian Mackie @Diana Daunheimer

Concluding that industrial activities are ‘almost exclusively’ to blame for seismic events is speculation not grounded in any fact.

Studies are ongoing, but there has been no evidence to support such a claim.

Diana Daunheimer @Ian Mackie

I will be more clear, the recent increase (from the 70’s to present day) in seismicity is almost exclusively due to industrial activities, not excluding mining, hydro, and oil, gas etc.

Let’s put a pin in it, come back in 5 years, and see who was right.

I expect by then our experts and the AER/AGS amalgamation (as if that isn’t an obvious clue unto itself) will have a hard time keeping the run away frack train in the station.

Ian Mackie @Diana Daunheimer

I like facts, and evidence-based decision making. I don’t have patience for speculation.

You are speculating. There is no evidence to support your claims.

I think it is prudent to wait for the facts to support conclusions, and not the other way around.

Ian Mackie

The area is prone to earthquakes. There is no relationship between the two, and there is no evidence that they are related to hydraulic fracturing.

It’s a good step for the regulators to review fracking activity and ensure that communities are safe, but the area is on the edge of the Precambrian shield. Earthquakes are a natural process, and part of the reality of this area.

Diana Daunheimer @Ian Mackie

From Robert Wetmiller Abstract

“Earthquakes near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, and their relationship to gas production facilities”

“A 1980 field survey of earthquake activity near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, using one digital and six conventional seismographs, recorded 146 microearthquakes (M ≤ 3.4) in 23 days and located 67 of them. The located events, and probably the unlocated events as well, all occurred in a small zone approximately 4 km north–south by 4 km east–west by 1 km thick, centred near 52°12.5′N, 115°15′W at a depth of 4.0 km, with an uncertainty of ±2 km on each of the location coordinates. The activity occurred below and (or) in the Strachan D-3A sour gas reservoir, which is a Devonian-aged limestone reef complex in a section of nearly flat-lying, unfaulted sediments. The earthquakes had a composite thrust-faulting mechanism with generally north-trending, intermediate-dipping planes in the presence of a regional deviatoric stress field that was horizontally compressive and oriented approximately east–west. The earthquake activity may be related to the extraction of the natural gas and related fluids from the reservoir, but the exact relationship cannot be documented at this time.The earthquake activity in the region increased dramatically after the production of gas from the reservoir began in the early 1970’s.”

High level of oil and gas activity, both conventional and unconventional are also realties of this area.

Ian Mackie @Diana Daunheimer

I see a lot of speculation, with very little fact in your quote.

Diana Daunheimer

I find the contrast in these discussions so compelling.

We send our children to school every day, expecting them to learn.

We pay tens of thousands, if not hundreds, for their continuing education, in the hopes they learn enough to be financially independent and productive in society.

Once that happens, do we expect that is the end of their education in life? Do we accept and enable ourselves and our children to hold fast to unsupported ideology, unfounded opinions and baseless rhetoric?

Or do we continue to seek out knowledge, learn about critical issues and share that information in an unbiased and productive manner?

I find it disheartening that so many here wilfully reject sound scientific information, and remain indignant and entitled to their ignorance, without any inclination to enage or consider alternative information.

Such is your right, but as the saying goes, you can take a horse to water…

I am encouraging my children that learning never ends, and you can never know it all. Keep searching for answers until all avenues are exhausted and consider every perspective, only then, should you form an opinion. I have my dearest great grandmother and fabulous father to thank for those values. Granny was an avid reader and curious student until her passing at 98, my father, despite a critical disablity from ALS, continues each day to invent and build, always trying to improve on the status quo. Those are people worthy of respect, that make the world a better place.

Open minds, open hearts folks.

Diana Daunheimer @Ian Mackie

Not my quote.

By all means, take a moment to review the significant amounts of literature and information provided by the AGS, the AER, and numerous industry and independent studies on the increased seismicity in the Rocky Mountain House region and the correlation to natural gas extraction and injection activities.

You will find the facts you need.


Ian Mackie @Diana Daunheimer

I did review the literature, and there is noting that indicates that hydraulic fracturing is responsible for these earthquakes.

Correlation does not equate to causation.

I have found speculation based on siesmic surveys, and a robust program in place to monitor the industry.

Jim Gayton

The province of New Brunswick quit fraking for fear of polluting ground water and encroachment onto Aboriginal lands. The pure greed of Albertains will not allow them to stop destroying their province at any cost. They can’t understand why other provinces aren’t doing the same. We don’t want Alberta’s crap piped across our provinces. We think our children’s air means more than your typical Albertain’s wealth today. It’s called having a sense of decency.

Gary Haggquist

Wow, less than a week ago a 4.6-magnitude earthquake rattled central Alberta with the epicentre about 35 kilometres north of Red Deer. Vesta Energy, a privately owned oil and gas company, halted its fracking operations in the area after the company most likely triggered the quake that temporarily shut down power to nearly 5,000 residents.

Meanwhile in southern China residents of Sichuan province grieved after a swarm of industry-triggered earthquakes rocked that shale gas basin on February 25. One fracked well set off a cluster of earthquakes with magnitudes as high as 4.9 that killed two people said one report, and at least four according to another. The tremors also damaged thousands of buildings and left hundreds homeless in Rongxian county.

In response to the quakes, thousands of angry protestors descended on government offices to demand action. The government told the protesters it would shut down fracking operations in the region.

Seismic experts have long established that the injection of pressurized fluids into the ground over short or long periods of time can reactivate faults and cause earthquakes. Time to end this ecocidal process!

Joe Smith @Gary Haggquist

there is absolutely no proof that Vesta energy “likely” caused the quake. Another attempt at misinformation? In fact the US geological survey has said it is possible fracking can prevent major earthquakes or at least lesson the severity. How do you explain the quakes that predate the fracking boom?

Diana Daunheimer @Joe Smith

No proof? You didn’t read the Environmental Protection Order issued by the Alberta Energy Regulator, in which the AER states that Vesta’s operations caused an adverse effect to the enviroment, and ordered operations ceased, required all seismic data and continuous pumping curve info, under D59, reporting on all seismicity in the region since April of 2018, and a plan to reduce seismicity from operations, intent of all operations within 50 km of Sylvan and Red Deer and notice that operations must try to stay under 3.0 magnitude?

John Murray @Diana Daunheimer

FrackFacts, confuse Oily dinosaurs, well stated.

Susan Brooks

Reading some of the posts here gives me grave concerns about our education system.

Robert Storch @Susan Brooks

Agreed x2. Critical thinking has vanished in the Pembra crowd.

Although I suspect Jason Kenny and the UCP have some “big plans” for the education system, should Albertan’s give them a Mandate. Not necessarily good plans. Keep an eye on that one.

Gregovich Popov

One benefit: small quakes relieve tension on the earth’s crust, that would have built up and eventually caused bigger earthquakes.

Diana Daunheimer

NRCan and USGS say otherwise.

“If we have lots of little earthquakes will they relieve the stress building up for a megathrust earthquake?

No. It takes many, many small earthquakes to release the amount of energy equivalent to a large earthquake. The amount of energy released increases about 40 times every time there is an increase of one unit on the magnitude scale. Thus, if we consider a small earthquake at the felt level, about magnitude 2, there would have to be 40x40x40x40x40x40x40 of these earthquakes to release the amount of energy as one magnitude 9 event. That is about one million small earthquakes a day, every day, for 500 years. That level of earthquake activity is not observed.”

FICTION: You can prevent large earthquakes by making lots of small ones, or by “lubricating” the fault with water.

Seismologists have observed that for every magnitude 6 earthquake there are about 10 of magnitude 5, 100 of magnitude 4, 1,000 of magnitude 3, and so forth as the events get smaller and smaller. This sounds like a lot of small earthquakes, but there are never enough small ones to eliminate the occasional large event. It would take 32 magnitude 5’s, 1000 magnitude 4’s, OR 32,000 magnitude 3’s to equal the energy of one magnitude 6 event. So, even though we always record many more small events than large ones, there are far too few to eliminate the need for the occasional large earthquake.

As for “lubricating” faults with water or some other substance, if anything, this would have the opposite effect. Injecting high-pressure fluids deep into the ground is known to be able to trigger earthquakes—to cause them to occur sooner than would have been the case without the injection. This would be a dangerous pursuit in any populated area, as one might trigger a damaging earthquake.”

Jim Redmond

Hmmm — what’ll they blame this earthquake on? There was no fracking in the area, so there HAS to be something else the oil industry did to cause it because everything bad is the fault of the oil industry.

Diana Daunheimer @Jim Redmond

Yes sir, without being facetious, Canlin Energy has numerous injection wells in the area, including more than you would expect in the Crimson Lake Provincial Park.

Many of them are historic, decades old, but still licensed and several are newer.

It would be prudent of the AER to review these operations if they correlate with the location of the seismic event, as injection wells are also known, along with fracking, to induce seismicity.


Jim Redmond @Diana Daunheimer

In all due respect, are we talking about major earthquakes?

Diana Daunheimer @Jim Redmond

This is more complex than just labelling the severity of the earthquake.

Induced industry events do not correlate with the traditional classification of the Richter scale impacts related to natural events, due to the shallowness of injection or fracturing induced events. The shallow nature of an induced event, amplifies the impacts.

4.0-5.0 are considered minor events, but industry has induced up to 5.8, which are considered moderate, but in this case, led to serious damages, and a local state of emergency declaration.

Buckled highways, broken water and gas mains, damaged homes and businesses, ground water impacts, potential to deform rail lines leading to increased derailments and other infrastructure damages are all real and potential damages and liabilties from induced seismic events.

These may not be the major earthquakes that continental plate tetonics will generate, but the possibilty for major damages from induced events, can not be discounted. Particulary in areas, in which building codes have been created based on a low probability of natural seismic events.

Forgot to add, shale gas extraction caused induced event that killed two, wounded 13, in Beijing recently.

As more and more unconventional extraction occurs, so do the impacts.

Vladimir Ducel @Diana Daunheimer ………………….ur doin too much fracking

Bob Ols @Diana Daunheimer

Since you lost your lawsuit, you must be searching for something else to rant about.

Diana Daunheimer @Bob Ols

We settled, August 24th, 2017 on order from Justice Eamon.

Is that a loss in your world?

If you read our filings with the court, you wouldn’t have the audacity to be so rude.

Can you find fault in what I post? Or just here to personally attack and make stuff up?

Would like to add for readers, that the information I present is largely because of this action, where we litigated against a highly non-compliant unconventional operator. We most certainly would have named the AER as a party, but they are immune from liability.

From FOIP’ed AER documents, extensive legal, regulatory and industry research (as I was a self represented litigant for over 2 years) and from records generation in discoveries, I possess giga bytes of data and thousands of industry documents, including completions reports with seismic data. This was an extremely valuable experience that can not be discounted by faceless strangers on the net.

In fact, we acheived some significant legal victories, including not having our action sealed and not being placed under a standard multi generational gag order, so our action remains on the public record, and our family, including our children, are free to speak about it.

We also resisted an application for Security for Costs Awards, where the defendants were seeking installments of $33,000, up to $250,000 as security for their costs in the action. If we could not pay this amount (the aggressive application was filed right before Christmas), our action would be struck. Essentially this is an exhorbitant access to justice fee , paid by an average member of the public, against a corporation, with largely unlimited funds. Had we lost that application, precedent would have been set, and the implications for any Canadian filing a meritorious action against a corporation would have been altered forever.

Even the most consummate of industry supporters have been empathetic and compassionate to our experience. After reading our Amended Claim with supporting exhibits, you would have to be inhumane not to be.


Wolf Engler

Good journalism requires quoting high profile researchers with ties to our petroleum lobby:
“It’s an area which has a long kind of history known to be seismically active, and it predates any kind of hydraulic fracturing types of operations that have really ramped up in the last five to 10 years,”
— David Eaton, UofC Professor and NSERC/Chevron Industrial Research Chair in Microseismic System Dynamics

But, if you really need to provide balance, then you do need to provide balance, and quote majority opinion science research too. Credible research identifies fracking as the most likely cause for earthquakes in western Canada:

Diana Daunheimer

According to the Alberta Interactive Seismic Events mapping tool, there have been a dozen seismic events on March 3 & 4th (the past week) in Alberta, all in fairly close proximity to the Vesta completions event.

CBC needs to update this information.

Reg Parker
Aren’t the US fracking like crazy?
How come no earthquakes, like crazy, there?

Diana Daunheimer @Reg Parker
There is, a quick internet search will validate.
Start with Oklahoma.

Diana Daunheimer

David Eaton, funded (and formerly employed) by Chevron.

RA follow @Diana Daunheimer
oh…someone’s nose is out of joint.

Diana Daunheimer @Roger Arley

No sir, just plain tired of academic experts, residing at the U of C, funded by the industry, failing the public interest and their academic obligation and ethics by pandering to their sponsors narrative on industrial processes that make them money, but damage the environment.

When will Eaton explain to the public, using his extensive knowledge on the subject of micro seismic events, that every single hydraulically fractured well induces seismicity? Not all are “felt” at the surface, but every successful fracture propagation is a deliberatley induced micro seismic event, monitored by testing at the surface by completions crews and submitted with Tour Reports to the AER under Directive 59.

Regardless of the fact that this event may be natural, with the consideration that intensive activity in the region could very well be a contributing factor, Eaton consistently fails to address that fracking is synonymous with induced seismicity. He likes to blame nature, while ignoring the thousands, upon thousands of unatural events occurring in the province. Rather unconscionable, particlulary considering who funds his research.


Earthquake felt Sunday morning near Rocky Mountain House, Alta., Area is ‘prone to earthquakes,’ expert says by Andrea Ross with files from Wallis Snowdon, March 10, 2019, CBC News

A 4.3-magnitude earthquake was felt near Rocky Mountain House early Sunday morning.

The earthquake happened at 4 a.m. around 30 kilometres northwest of Rocky Mountain House, according to Natural Resources Canada. The quake was about 10 kilometres deep.

No damage has been reported. Only minor damage — if any — would be expected with an earthquake of this magnitude, said David Eaton, a professor with the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary.

‘A very short, sharp shock’: Earthquake rattles central Alberta

However, those living in the area would feel it, he said.

“This is an area that is prone to earthquakes,” Eaton said.

“It’s right in that zone where you do expect people who are in proximity to the epicentre to feel it quite strongly.”

There are several clusters of seismicity in the area that are well-known and studied in the area around Rocky Mountain House, Eaton added. One of them was active in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was linked to production from the Strachan oil pool, he said. He could not say what caused Sunday’s earthquake.

“It’s an area which has a long kind of history known to be seismically active, and it predates any kind of hydraulic fracturing types of operations that have really ramped up in the last five to 10 years,” Eaton said.

The Alberta Energy Regulator is aware of the earthquake but spokeswoman Cara Tobin couldn’t confirm whether it was related to industrial activity.

“While we cannot say absolutely either way at this time, it is unlikely to be related,” she said. “There is no drilling or completion activities in the area at the moment.”

In August 2014, a 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck in a similar location, she added.

Second quake in six days
This is the second earthquake in Alberta within one week.

The morning of March 4, a 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck about four kilometres southwest of Red Deer.

The one-kilometre-deep quake was “lightly felt” by residents in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake, according to Natural Resources Canada.

People reported on social media that tremor temporarily knocked out power in some areas of Sylvan Lake.

One resident in downtown Red Deer said she was asleep on her couch when the earthquake startled her awake last week.

“All of a sudden, the couch was shaking and everything is moving in my apartment,” Colleen Jesse said. “I sit up … and I’m going, ‘Is my apartment falling down?’ And I look out the window and there is nothing.

“It was pretty scary.”

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