It wasn't the typical weekend here in the Cuckoo's Nest, the assisted living joint I happily reside in. About 9:00 PM on Friday a 5.1 earthquake rolled through, waking me from a sound sleep. I lay in bed for about 5 seconds before I realized just what was going on, and just as I was reaching for the clothes and shoes I set out each evening for the next day, it stopped. I got dressed, turned on the light, and opened my door to see what was happening outside my room.
A few people were in the TV room, and they motioned me in to hear the news that had just been posted. The epicenter was about 20 miles away, which explained why we had just a gentle rolling motion. A 5.1 on the Richter Scale is technically a "moderate" quake, but I lived through the Whittier and Northridge quake, so this one was merely cookies and milk. Still, I went to the USGS site to get further data, and discovered while nosing around the site that Oklahoma was having a lot of earthquakes.
Every state in the union has geological faults running through it, which I knew, it's just that most of them are not as active as they are in California. So I did a little more searching on the internet and came across this article in The Nation
The US Geological Survey found that from 1975 to 2008, central Oklahoma experienced one to three 3.0-magnitude earthquakes a year, compared with an average of forty per year from 2009 to 2013. And it looks like that number is going to get bigger. It’s only February, and the state has already logged more than twenty-five quakes of 3.0-magnitude or larger this year, and more than 150 total quakes in the past week alone.
This startling graphic, from The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday, shows a massive spike of 2.5-magnitude or larger earthquakes, starting last year (the yellow portion of the last bar represents earthquakes that took place between Maddow’s shows on Monday and Tuesday):
(Click on image to enlarge.)
No one is disputing that such a dramatic spike is unusual. The question is why it’s happening now, and science suggests that the fracking boom may be, at least in part, to blame.
Scientists have drawn links between earthquakes and wastewater injection wells used for oil and gas production, including fracking. Researchers say the toxic wastewater, stored thousands of feet underground, reducing friction along fault lines, which can trigger earthquakes. The ongoing fracking boom has led to a growth in national demand for disposal wells, according to Bloomberg.
So, not only does fracking foul the water supplies and pollute the land, it also may be causing earthquakes in places where earthquakes are not common. And then, to complete the picture, once the oil and/or natural gas is obtained and then burned, it pollutes the air. All so a handful of people can go from billionaires to trillionaires.
And that's no joke.
Note: go check out the USGS website
. It's very educational for all sorts of things.
Labels: Cuckoo's Nest, fracking, The Environment