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Tab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 02:25 AM
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Drilling might be culprit behind Texas earthquakes
Source: Associated Press

CLEBURNE, Texas The earth moved here on June 2. It was the first recorded earthquake in this Texas town's 140-year history but not the last. There have been four small earthquakes since, none with a magnitude greater than 2.8. The most recent ones came Tuesday night, just as the City Council was meeting in an emergency session to discuss what to do about the ground moving.

The council's solution was to hire a geology consultant to try to answer the question on everyone's mind: Is natural gas drilling which began in earnest here in 2001 and has brought great prosperity to Cleburne and other towns across North Texas causing the quakes?

"I think John Q. Public thinks there is a correlation with drilling," Mayor Ted Reynolds said. "We haven't had a quake in recorded history, and all the sudden you drill and there are earthquakes."

At issue is a drilling practice called "fracking," in which water is injected into the ground at high pressure to fracture the layers of shale and release natural gas trapped in the rock.

There is no consensus among scientists about whether the practice is contributing to the quakes. But such seismic activity was once rare in Texas and seems to be increasing lately, lending support to the theory that drilling is having a destabilizing effect.

On May 16, three small quakes shook Bedford, a suburb of Dallas and Fort Worth. Two small earthquakes hit nearby Grand Prairie and Irving on Oct. 31, and again on Nov. 1.

The towns sit upon the Barnett Shale, a geologic formation that is perhaps the nation's richest natural gas field. The area is estimated to have 30 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas and provides about 7 percent of the country's supply.

The drilling's economic impact has been significant, because gas companies pay signing bonuses and royalties to property owners for the right to drill beneath their land. Signing bonuses climbed to around $25,000 an acre at the boom's peak.

Cleburne agreed to lease the mineral rights in the earliest stages of the frenzy, receiving a modest $55 an acre for 3,500 acres of city land. There are about 200 drilling sites in Cleburne, and it is not unusual to see cattle chewing grass in the shadow of gas pipes.

Cleburne has collected between $20 million and $25 million in royalties since 2001, about $6 million in 2008 alone, Reynolds said. Such riches have allowed the building of parks and sports complexes in the city of 30,000, about 30 miles south of Fort Worth.

"That's a lot of libraries and police cars," the mayor said proudly. "It's enabled us to escape the worst part of the recession, enables us to keep tax rates low and lowered unemployment."
...
The gas is extracted through a process known as horizontal drilling. A company will drill roughly 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet down and then go horizontally for as much as 4,000 feet or so. Then the fracking begins.



Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090612/ap_on_re_us/us_texa...
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 02:27 AM
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1. Deleted message
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lapfog_1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I was thinking smaller... like a big sinkhole opens up and
swallows the whole town.
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azygous Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Happened here in Colorado
A couple years ago, we were having "swarms" of small quakes over a three day period in southern Colorado. They were centered on an area where there was current gas drilling just as in Texas. After the local residents swamped the gas drilling company with accusations of being behind the earthquakes (and subsequent denials, of course) the quakes curiously stopped after the drilling ceased.
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 04:46 AM
Response to Original message
3. '... then the fracking begins.' - an understatement. /nt
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ShockediSay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. no doubt they are fracking ... extremely controversial
"Fracking," as the industry calls it, involves injecting a million gallons or more of water and chemicals deep underground to pry out gas that's locked away in tight spaces....

Hydraulic fracturing allows drillers to dramatically increase production. The chemicals pumped underground with the water help drillers bore through the hard rock. The pressure used is tremendous — about 300 times a typical garden hose. That creates small cracks in the rock that allow gas to escape.

Steve Harris believes that pressure also ruined his well. He lives on 14 acres south of Dallas. Shortly after a driller fracked a nearby well, he and his neighbors noticed a change in water pressure.

"When you'd flush the toilet — in the back where the bowl is — water would shoot out the top of the bowl," says Harris.

When he took a shower, there was a foul odor, and the water left rashes on his grandson's skin. His horses stopped drinking from their trough, and there was an oily film on top of the water.

Similar stories are popping up around the country. In Ohio, a couple's house blew up when gas from their water well filled their basement. A woman in Colorado blames her health problems on the chemicals used for fracking.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10...

See also

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=fracking&as_epq...



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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
6. Shake, Baby, Shake! nt
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
7. This can't be right. Man is too small and insignificant for any of his actions
to have ANY EFFECT WHATSOEVER on the Earth that GAWD created. It says so in the bible.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-13-09 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. Holy crap! I may not be... I predicted this thirty years ago!
I kept saying that with the volume of gas and oil that we were removing we could expect changes in the geologic actions. I do not and did not have a degree in geology. But it was a visionary hunch. I have a few of those. Like global warming. I didn't need Al Gore to tell me. I had a strong suspicion long ago, even though I didn't at the time know that CO2 would be one of the factors.

Morons that didn't know when to stop. And most of it is being done with good intentions by good people. I know someone who just went hiking in the Himalayas for a week. Just a bit of a carbon footprint of a hike! God damn.
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