Expert: Wastewater well for oil and gas drillers triggered minor earthquakes in Ohio
CLEVELAND — A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday.
Research is continuing on the now-shuttered injection well at Youngstown and seismic activity, but it might take a year for the wastewater-related rumblings in the earth to dissipate, said John Armbruster of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y.
Earthquakes are yet another hazard associated with fracking that's led to yet louder calls for bans, which the state of Ohio partially did today. As part of his duties at the Sustainability Desk, Marketplace's Scott Tong has been out and about at some fracking wells. He's got our report.
The state had quietly shut down operations at the Youngstown injection well after a 2.7 magnitude quake on Dec. 24, but then extended the moratorium to a 5-mile (8-kilometer) radius around the well after the larger quake Dec. 31, industry officials said.
On Tuesday, state officials confirmed the suspension but would not comment further, apparently reflecting concerns about its impact on a nascent industry that many have been banking on as a source of jobs and investments in a lo
ng struggling Rust Belt state.
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Melissa Block interviews John Armbruster, a seismologist with Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University, about why he believes the waste from fracking in Ohio has led to the earthquakes there. He says the injection of waste water from the fracking process created pressure on nearby faults, and he expects the quakes to continue — even after the process is stopped