There have been dozens of earthquakes in the past few months.
They now average about one a day, although some days bring many more. This is the terrifying reality of people living near fracking site Irving, Texas.
These quakes fracture walls, windows and ceilings and like everybody, it would start to get on my nerves if it was my daily worry.
There have been dozens of earthquakes in the past few months. They now average about one a day, although some days bring many more. Recently more than 12 earthquakes were even reported in one day: The Irving Earthquake Swarm!
The tremors are small – usually less than magnitude 3.0 – the kind of earthquakes Californians shrug off all the time. But Irving, Texas, is mostly known for its floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires, not earthquakes.
So something has changed to suddenly set the ground trembling. And this something is unknown… Well that’s what officials are saying! Officially, Irving City Council is still investigating the causes and consequences of the earthquake swarm.
Is fracking to blame?
Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of rock and shale with millions of litres of high-pressure water mixed with chemicals to help unlock the oil and gas underground. And it’s now booming in Texas and other parts of the United States.
The wastewater from fracking is injected into disposal wells. Geophysicists say if that water finds its way into an underground fault it can lead to the fault slipping, possibly resulting in an earthquake.
Actually, it seems that the amount of waste water being disposed of in Texas wells has skyrocketed with the spread of fracking from 46 million barrels in 2005 to 3.5 billion barrels in 2011. Now where do you think that waste water is going?”
Special probes have been placed around the Dallas Irving area to record the quakes and try to get it all figured out before something really bad happens, if it hasn’t already.