Study ties oil, gas production to Midwest quakes
Oil and gas production may explain a sharp increase in small earthquakes in the nation’s midsection, a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests.
The rate has jumped six-fold from the late 20th century through last year, the team reports, and the changes are “almost certainly man-made.”
Outside experts were split in their opinions about the report, which is not yet published but is due to be presented at a meeting later this month.
The study said a relatively mild increase starting in 2001 comes from increased quake activity in a methane production area along the state line between Colorado and New Mexico. The increase began about the time that methane production began there, so there’s a “clear possibility” of a link, says lead author William Ellsworth of the USGS.