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Oil & Gas

Fracking wastewater caused earthquakes in Ohio, seismologist says

January 04, 2012
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CLEVELAND — A seismologist studying a series of 11 minor earthquakes in the Youngstown area said Monday that a northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling caused the seismic activity, The Associated Press reported.

John Armbruster, a researcher at Columbia University''s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., said it might take a year for the earthquakes to dissipate.

Thousands of gallons of brine were injected daily into the Youngstown well that opened in 2010 until its owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC, agreed Friday to stop injecting the waste into the earth as a precaution while authorities assessed any potential links to the quakes, the article stated.

Following a 4.0 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, state officials announced their beliefs that injecting wastewater near a fault line had created enough pressure to cause earthquakes.

Armbruster said Monday he expects more quakes will occur despite the shutdown of the Youngstown well.

"The earthquakes will trickle on as a kind of a cascading process once you''ve caused them to occur," he said. "This one year of pumping is a pulse that has been pushed into the ground, and it''s going to be spreading out for at least a year."
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