The discovery of large pockets of natural gas sources over the past decade has led to a revolution fueled by fracking that’s helped make this commodity an inexpensive source of energy. That’s helped directly play a role in the steep drop in oil prices over the past two years, which has helped reshape the industry.
As a result, states holding deposits now enthusiastically seek to tap into that production and create thousands of jobs. However, all that positive news is countered by the disturbing problem of earthquakes becoming a growing problem. The latest instance of this came on September 3, when a 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma was strong enough to be felt by residents of the Dallas area.
Fracking itself is not seen as the cause of the actual problem, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Their belief is that the finger-pointing should be directed at the wastewater disposal methods of the process, a controversial assessment that’s been met by critics of the concept.
Those disputing the assessment note that the USGS’s own numbers show a dramatic surge in earthquakes in the central United States, which includes Oklahoma. The number of natural earthquakes each year from 1973-2008 amounted to about two every month. Since that time, the number has jumped to a level whereby 2015’s numbers show that approximately 84 earthquakes were taking place every month.
The time period of the huge increase coincides with that of the economic equivalent of an earthquake. That arrived in late 2008, when the world economy was on the verge of collapse and many states saw the embracing of fracking as a jobs gold mine. That approach ignored the concerns of environmentalists, with the dangers of earthquakes and other issues potentially being a high price to pay.