One of the biggest firms responsible for the practice of fracking has admitted that their actions caused seismic activity in England.
Fracking involves cracking or fracturing rock, containing trapped shale gas, by using pressurized liquid. Shale gas is an increasingly important energy resource though there have been claims that it is worse for the environment than coal, largely due to the fracking process.
Analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located. Most of these earthquakes occurred within a 24 hour period after hydraulic fracturing operations had ceased. There have been previous cases where seismologists have suggested a link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, but data was limited, so drawing a definitive conclusion was not possible for these cases.
Drilling either for fossil fuels or renewable energy exploration may cause earthquakes. Both geophysicists and oilmen agree that natural-gas drilling trigger earthquakes. One oilman stated that "there is not the slightest doubt" that gas production caused the temblors."
A New York Times report confirmed drilling for oil sets off earthquakes and detailed how a drilling project near San Francisco and a similar project in Basel, Switzerland were shut down over concerns they triggered damaging earthquakes. Both diggings involved fracturing hard rock more than two miles deep.
Large earthquakes tend to originate at great depths, breaking rock that far down carries more serious risk. Seismologists have long known that human activities can trigger quakes, but they say the science is not developed enough to say for certain what will or will not set off major tremors.
The time for denial is over. So, how are we going to stop them?