The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has closed operations at a drilling site in Poland Township, Mahoning County, following two earthquakes on Monday, March 10. The agency has launched an investigation and will be examining whether the seismic activity could have been caused by horizontal drilling activities taking place at the location.
Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that both earthquakes occurred near Lowellville, located in northeastern Ohio, close to the Pennsylvania border. The first one happened at about 2:26 a.m. and initially was measured at a 2.8 magnitude, but this was later changed to a magnitude of 3.0. The second was just after 11 a.m. and was centered slightly to the southeast, with a magnitude of 2.6. The earthquakes were about 1.2 miles deep, the U.S. Geological Survey noted.
The wells were drilled by Texas-based Hilcorp Energy, which has already drilled a dozen wells in the area and is the only oil and gas company currently operating nearby, media reports said. There was no property damage associated with the earthquakes.
According to the ODNR, there is no evidence that the earthquakes were linked to Hilcorp's drilling operations or to injection wells but as a precautionary measure the company has been asked to stop drilling until tests have been carried out, reports said.