Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

UK Fracking Paused Again After Largest Quake Yet

Fracking
UK Fracking Paused Again After Largest Quake Yet
A protester outside the site where fracking restarted in the UK in October. OLI SCARFF / AFP / Getty Images

It would appear that the resurgence of fracking in the UK is on very shaky ground. A company called Cuadrilla restarted the controversial technique at a site in Lancashire, in Northwest England, just two months ago after a seven year hiatus. But it spent a month of that time doing tests with smaller volumes of water after a series of small earthquakes in October, The Guardian reported.


When it restarted full operations Monday, it didn't have to wait long before triggering the area's biggest earthquake yet. A 1.5 magnitude tremor was recorded at around 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday, an order of magnitude strong enough that five people told the British Geological Survey that they had felt the quake.

"Within a day of Cuadrilla restarting fracking in Lancashire, there has already been another earthquake which means they've had to down tools, " Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth told The Guardian.

According to the "traffic light system" put in place by the Oil and Gas Authority, Cuadrilla must pause operations for 18 hours after any red level earthquake measuring 0.5 or above.

"Cuadrilla will pause and continue to monitor micro seismicity for at least the next 18 hours, in line with the traffic light system regulations. Well integrity has been checked and verified," a company spokesperson told The Lancashire Evening Post.

The spokesperson referenced a University of Liverpool study that said the impact of the quake "would be like dropping a melon," but Cath Middleton, who lives 1.6 miles from the fracking site and felt the quake, cast doubt on that comparison. She told BBC News that she heard a "very loud bang."

"To compare this to dropping a melon is ridiculous," she said. "My neighbour's chair shook."

The 1.5 magnitude quake was also the last of nine recorded in a 90 minute time span Tuesday, the most recorded on the site within a single day, The Lancashire Evening Post reported.

"It appears that they cannot frack without triggering tremors. And instead of acknowledging that fracking needs to end, Cuadrilla are instead urging for regulations around earthquakes to be relaxed," Bosworth further told The Lancashire Evening Post. "We've always said that fracking poses risks for our climate and environment. After today's quake, and with the effects of climate breakdown already happening around us, isn't it time to put a stop to fracking once and for all?"

Fracking was originally stopped in the area in 2011 after two quakes, one registering 2.3 and one registering 1.5, were felt by people outside the nearby city of Blackpool, The Guardian reported. Since operations restarted this October, a total of 47 minor earthquakes have been recorded.
A replica of a titanosaur. AIZAR RALDES / AFP via Getty Images

New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule eliminated a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. VisionsofAmerica /Joe Sohm / Getty Images

A federal court on Tuesday struck down the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A wild mink in Utah was the first wild animal in the U.S. found with COVID-19. Peter Trimming via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.

Read More Show Less
A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

Read More Show Less
Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less