Quantcast

Fracking raises concerns about rise of earthquakes - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Fracking raises concerns about rise of earthquakes

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The process of drilling horizontally into shale to get natural gas was approved in North Carolina last month.

But at least one state where it’s allowed is seeing a surge in earthquakes.

Fracking permits could be issued in North Carolina as early as next year. But new research suggests the increase in underground pressure can trigger earthquakes.

For example, Oklahoma has had more than 50 earthquakes in the past seven days. CNN reported there were seven earthquakes on Saturday and Sunday.

CNN reported that Oklahoma had an average of just two earthquakes a year that registered 3.0 or higher from 1978 to 2008.

The number has jumped since.

A study published in June in the journal “Science” suggests that just four wells injecting wastewater in the ground are shaking up much of the state.

The authors write, “Unconventional oil and gas production provides a rapidly growing energy source; however, high-production states in the United States, such as Oklahoma, face sharply rising numbers of earthquakes.”

“It’s very frightening. The house shakes, things rattle,” said Dr. Robert Puls, Water Survey Director at the University of Oklahoma.

No injuries or deaths have been reported. Most of the quakes are big enough to be felt but too small to do serious damage like earthquakes in California or Japan.

A group representing oil and natural gas companies said very few events have been documented over the decades. The big question is whether North Carolina could face similar problems. Energy companies are interested in Lee, Chatham and Moore counties for fracking.

The state geologist said the possibility earthquakes here is unlikely because of how the fracking waste is handled.

“The common way to dispose of water from a hydraulic fracturing operation is to inject it underground deeply,” Dr. Kenneth Taylor said. “Well, the rocks here in the Triassic Basin aren't the kind -- they don't have enough space -- to be able to take that water.”

Taylor said states like Oklahoma are also more seismically active, so fracking can increase earthquake activity.

In North Carolina, the state will hold public hearings in Raleigh, Sanford and Reidsville over the next six weeks to go over proposed rules and regulations.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

More>>

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • NC unveils new process for picking poet laureate

    NC unveils new process for picking poet laureate

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 2:10 PM EDT2014-09-16 18:10:21 GMT
    North Carolina is looking for nominations for the next poet laureate after a decision by Gov. Pat McCrory on the position over the summer caused an uproar in the arts community.
    North Carolina is looking for nominations for the next poet laureate after a decision by Gov. Pat McCrory on the position over the summer caused an uproar in the arts community.
  • NC survey shows Hagan with narrow US Senate lead

    NC survey shows Hagan with narrow US Senate lead

    Sen. Kay Hagain (D) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R)Sen. Kay Hagain (D) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R)
    A survey of North Carolina likely voters shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holding a narrow lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis roughly two months from Election Day.
    A survey of North Carolina likely voters shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holding a narrow lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis roughly two months from Election Day.
  • NAACP planning voting rights rally in Wilmington

    NAACP planning voting rights rally in Wilmington

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:59 AM EDT2014-09-15 10:59:45 GMT
    The North Carolina NAACP is planning a rally in Wilmington to call attention to voting rights
    The North Carolina NAACP is planning a rally in Wilmington to call attention to voting rights
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.