Saturday, July 05, 2014

Fracking And Earthquakes...What The Science (Magazine Article) Actually Says.


Just because the proMedia seems squeamish about telling you what scientific studies actually say, I would like to post-up the abstract of a paper by Nicholas van der Elst and colleagues from Columbia University and the University of Oklahoma that was a precursor to the one that is getting so much play in the media this week.

Like this week's paper, the paper by van der Elst et al. was published  in the journal Science this time last year and it was titled 'Enhanced Remote Earthquake Triggering at Fluid-Injection Sites in the Midwestern United States':

A recent dramatic increase in seismicity in the midwestern United States may be related to increases in deep wastewater injection. Here, we demonstrate that areas with suspected anthropogenic earthquakes are also more susceptible to earthquake-triggering from natural transient stresses generated by the seismic waves of large remote earthquakes. Enhanced triggering susceptibility suggests the presence of critically loaded faults and potentially high fluid pressures. Sensitivity to remote triggering is most clearly seen in sites with a long delay between the start of injection and the onset of seismicity and in regions that went on to host moderate magnitude earthquakes within 6 to 20 months. Triggering in induced seismic zones could therefore be an indicator that fluid injection has brought the fault system to a critical state.

There you go.

No tougher to read and understand than an in-depth analyses of, say, an NHL team's capological strate(r)gy, right?

Point is...These fine folks, who are experts in the field and whose work has been vetted by peers experts, tentatively concluded that, in addition to any and all problems it may cause directly, fracking also likely causes natural problems within 'fault systems' to get worse.


It's not like we have any of those 'fault systems' thingies here in British Columbia, right?

I've written about the 'ladder' of peer-reviewed journals before, in the context of a shillophantic journal that, in my opinion, never made it even to the bottom rung...In contrast, the journal 'Science' is on the top-most rung...
There's a wee bit of irony in the authorship of the year old paper in question...One of the authors hails from the 'ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics'....Kudos to the administrators there for, presumably, staying at arms length.
So, what does the new paper in Science conclude?...Well, based on new data collection methods, the authors are much more definitive when they state, in their title, that: "Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection."
And how did I find the older van der Elst paper?...Well, I read the new paper which cites it....Science!...When practiced properly, it sure is a crazy, not-so-mixed-up facts-based business....And if  it wasn't, would jets fly?


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