Fracking caused British quakes:
A UK energy company has admitted that their hydraulic fracturing project (commonly known as ‘fracking’) probably caused a few surprisingly large earthquakes in Lancashire this spring. But, their report into the events concludes, it should be safe to continue operations in the area. Protesters disagree.
Fracking involves pumping millions of litres of water underground to fracture shale rock, allowing natural gas trapped inside to flow up the well. Concerns have been raised about whether this technique is safe (see Should fracking stop? and United States investigates fracking safety).
Two quakes of magnitude 2.3 and 1.4 in April and May, along with a cluster of 48 much smaller events, struck near the fracking project of Lichfield-based company Cuadrilla Resources. Cuadrilla stopped operations, and commissioned independent reports from a handful of consultants, including a Czech Republic seismic company and a British geomechanical services company, to investigate whether the drilling had triggered a nearby fault. Their synthesis report is now out.