University of Calgary seismologists say they make monumental discovery: Increased fluid pressure is main triggering mechanism of fluids injection-induced earthquakes by either reducing frictional resistance of the fault or altering fault loading conditions.

Comment by a Canadian reader in response to this post:

They must have worked very hard to get to this conclusion (sarcasm).

Researchers may have discovered a way to predict fracking-caused earthquakes; They looked at a 2016 fracking-caused 4.1 magnitude earthquake near Fox Creek by Sarah Rieger with files from Colleen Underwood, Aug 29, 2019, CBC News

Researchers at the University of Calgary have discovered a precursor to earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing, which they say may be able to predict those quakes before they happen.

… What the team of seismologists found is sometimes, fracking can cause layers of rock to slowly slip on a fault — the spot where two tectonic plates come together — eventually putting enough strain on another section of fault to slip suddenly, causing an earthquake.

That means if they can monitor that slowly-creeping slip, it could give seismologists a heads up.

‘Warning time’
“This really gives us a possibility that there could be a way of monitoring that something is going to occur before the actual earthquake occurs,” Thomas Eyre, the study’s lead author said.

“This slip actually initiates tens of hours before the earthquake occurs. So you’ve got a decent amount of warning time before the earthquake.”

[And then what? Tell everyone to run out of their homes, businesses, and get off all roadways, etc? And go where? To quickly find a quake-safe phone booth and call their insurance companies to get their claims in for the damages to their properties?]


Frac quake living interlude: What next for UK fracking site near Blackpool as Lancashire residents recover from the 2.9 magnitude earthquake, In a week where families had their homes shaken by the UK’s biggest fracking tremor, Dean Kirby looks at the fallout for the industry by inews, August 30, 2019

It was 8.31am on what should have been a quiet Bank Holiday Monday when the earthquake struck. Families in rural Lancashire ran outside as their homes began to shake.

“I was in the living room with my wife having breakfast and the whole house shook,” one resident, Ray Mills, told a television crew later that morning. “I mean, it really shook.

“We ran outside. My neighbour in her seventies came running out. She was really distressed, saying, ‘Oh my God. What was that?’”

Of more than 90 tremors that have rumbled beneath the fields of Lancashire since shale gas firm Cuadrilla began fracking at Preston New Road near Blackpool on 15 August, this was different: the 2.9ML (local magnitude) quake was the biggest ever caused by fracking in the UK.

It has led the Oil and Gas Authority to suspend hydraulic fracturing in Lancashire, and could be a pivotal moment for the future of an industry surrounded by controversy.

Shaken to its core

… Amid claims that he was “being reckless with people’s lives”, Mr Javid claimed that shale gas had the potential to [power massive debt] “power economic growth” and [kill jobs] support 64,000 jobs.

… Monday’s seismic event – which followed tremors over three days of 1.55 and 2.1 magnitude – brought out in protest families who had never before taken to the streets against fracking. [Is CCPA and other NGO’s going to smear those impacted and stressed families now by calling them “activists” because they’ve been frac quake shaken from their homes?]

National concern
… Earlier this month, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy even suggested it would consider opening a review of the existing fracking rules that could allow tremors of greater than the regulated 0.5 magnitude. [The only way companies can frac and get away with the endless harms and horrific financial losses/debts done is by massive deregulation and subsidies/freebies from ordinary (and often also impacted) citizens]

Andrea Leadsom, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, is a supporter of fracking who has previously dismissed warnings about the environmental impacts as “scaremongering”.

“There’s a ridiculous argument that somehow we don’t need gas, we can just do it with windfarms and solar. Of course it’s absolutely implausible,” she said in 2016. “Gas is absolutely essential to the UK’s energy security and we’d be mad not to look at what we can do at home.”

Ms Leadsom’s Whitehall department says that climate-change experts have recognised that natural gas from fracing massively increases emissions! has a role to play as the UK looks to meet its 2050 net-zero emissions target.

But there are growing signs of a rift between Downing Street and grass-roots Conservatives in some parts of the country where fracking has become an issue. The party’s councillors on Ryedale District Council, an area where fracking was approved in 2016 but has yet to happen, are due to call for a moratorium at the council’s next meeting.

Beyond Lancashire
Third Energy, which was given permission to frack an existing well near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, recently sold its onshore business to York Energy (UK) Holdings, an affiliate of American firm Alpha Energy.

Bigger fish are closely watching events at Preston New Road. Ineos, the privately owned petrochemicals group which wants to become the UK’s biggest shale gas player, already imports US shale gas to its refinery in Scotland.

Its owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, has argued that the current seismic limits are unworkable [what the super rich whine for, the super rich get, in this case massive deregulation to enable the frac quake harms], while its own plans to frack in England have been held up by planning officials.

A moratorium on fracking has been in place in Scotland since 2015 and the Scottish Government said in October 2017 that it backed an “effective ban”.

The Welsh Government also opposes fracking, and a block on the practice has been in place since 2015. A moratorium also exists in Northern Ireland.

Greater Manchester, a region that saw huge protests in 2013, when exploratory drilling was carried out at Barton Moss in Salford, where a string of Government licences have been handed out, announced earlier this year that it would also write a presumption against fracking into its planning policies.

Much could now depend on who would be the winner in a General Election this autumn.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all say they would introduce a ban. Jeremy Corbyn visited Preston New Road to meet protesters last month, as Labour said fracking will stop the UK meeting its climate-change targets.

“We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and that means the prime minister immediately banning fracking once and for all,” he said.

Yet Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, has said Labour’s policies would leave the UK dependent on imported gas by ship from the Middle East, Africa, the US or by pipeline from Russia.

Back in Lancashire, the firm’s fracking operations remain suspended while the Oil and Gas Authority examines whether the firm’s hydraulic fracturing plan is appropriate for managing the risk of induced tremors.

Residents, meanwhile, are anxiously awaiting the next tremor.

“The walls of my house shook – there was a really deep, guttural roar,” one homeowner, Heather Goodwin, said after Monday’s quake. “For a moment. I really thought my house was going to fall down.”

End frac quake living interlude: What next for UK fracking site near Blackpool as Lancashire residents recover from the 2.9 magnitude earthquake, In a week where families had their homes shaken by the UK’s biggest fracking tremor, Dean Kirby looks at the fallout for the industry by inews, August 30, 2019


The research appears to explain other laboratory measurements that found earthquakes shouldn’t be happening in shale, the kind of rock where fracking is taking place.

That’s because the quake happens at the part of the fault that’s unstable — which could be hundreds of metres away from the fracking zone.

That’s what happened in the case the researchers studied, when in January 2016 a magnitude 4.1 earthquake was triggered by fracking near Fox Creek in northern Alberta.

“There are existing techniques that are used to try and manage the risk of induced seismicity,” said co-researcher David Eaton. [They don’t appear to be working. Just ask Cuadrilla]

“What our results indicate is that we might be able to improve on or enhance that monitoring if we could detect this fault creeping effect happening prior to it.”

The team is now hoping to validate their research against other seismic data in the province.

Only a small fraction of fracking wells have been shown to directly trigger earthquakes. But the researchers still say it’s important what factors cause those quakes, and how to prevent them.

“[These] resources belong to all Albertans. So if we’re able to safely and responsibly produce resources without undesired effects like induced seismic events that’s that’s a good thing,” Eaton said. [And what of the many Alberta families with harmed health, polluted drinking water, lack of sleep because of noise and lights, etc that AER bullies, shames, and pisses on nastily while enabling the frac harms to continue unabated? Or do academics and other experts figure Albertans are no longer Albertans after they’ve been harmed and or ripped off by the oil and gas industry?]

U of C seismologists identify fallout of fracking process that precurses earthquakes by CTV News, August 28, 2019

Researchers at the University of Calgary have made a monumental discovery in the ongoing effort to understand how hydraulic fracturing contributes to earthquakes and potentially forecast seismic events.

According to the team of seismologists, the injection of fracturing fluids can lead to a slow slip on a fault and, over time, the strain the slow slip produces on other sections along the fault can result in a sudden slip and an earthquake. The researchers were able to image fault locations for the study after being provided with access to 3-D seismic data by Calgary-based TGS Canada Cop.

“Based on our model, the earthquake initiates on a part of the fault where friction conditions are unstable,” explained Dr. Thomas Eyre, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher in the U of C’s Department of Geoscience in a statement released Wednesday. “In the case we studied, the earthquake occurred hundreds of metres above the hydraulic fracturing zone.”

Previous laboratory measurements suggested earthquakes should not be possible given the type of rock stimulated by hydraulic fracturing but the U of C research appears to invalidate those claims.

The U of C study indicates increased fluid pressure is the main triggering mechanism of fluids injection-induced earthquakes by either reducing the frictional resistance of the fault or altering the fault loading conditions.

“Our model predicts that slow slip initiates significantly before an induced seismic event,” said Eyre. “This could lead to news ways to monitor and forecast felt seismic events.”

Refer also to:

2018 01 19: New study: Hydraulic fracturing volume is associated with induced earthquake productivity in Duvernay play, Fox Creek Alberta

New news or old? Frac’ing, not waste injection, causing earthquakes in Western Canada. Diana Daunheimer calls out U of Calgary’s David Eaton: “So why are you getting the details on this issue so very wrong Mr. Eaton?”

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

CAPP Induced Planned Deflection & Dismissal of Frack Quake Risks & Harms? U of A Study: Human-induced seismicity (leaves out the tens of thousands of small frack quakes) and large-scale (why leave out the medium & small-scale production that’s fracked?) hydrocarbon production in PA, WV, OK, ND, TX, USA and SK, AB, BC, Canada

Fracking Quakes Pose Added Risks but Oil and Gas Companies Refuse to Share their Collected Seismic Data. “In low seismic environments like Fox Creek where the natural earthquakes are infrequent, the hazards from an induced seismic event can exceed the hazards from a natural source”

More lies & frac fraud? Why did AER’s Darin Barter (now NEB) suggest trucks to blame for citizens feeling frac quakes at Cardson? Why not tell the truth? Why are regulators and “experts” so loath to publicly disclose fracing’s many public safety risks?

Terrifying! Injected oilfield wastewater may trigger earthquakes for ‘decades.’ More terrifying: Percentage of high-magnitude quakes felt at the surface increases with depth of waste injected & may create greater magnitude quakes years after injection rates decline or stop.

This entry was posted in Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.