Quantcast

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.
Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Bernie Sanders holds his first presidential campaign rally at Brooklyn College on March 02 in Brooklyn, New York. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis. Getty Images

Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view of the flooding at the Camp Ashland, Nebraska on March 17. Nebraska National Guard / Staff Sgt. Herschel Talley / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region's many farmers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

In tea, food, or just on your windowsill, embrace the fragrance and fantastic healing potential of herbs.

Read More Show Less

By Ana Santos Rutschman

The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.

Read More Show Less
MartinPrescott / iStock / Getty Images

On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Strawberries top the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of U.S. produce most contaminated with pesticides. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images

Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.

Read More Show Less
A drilling rig in a Wyoming natural gas field. William Campbell / Corbis via Getty Images

A U.S. federal judge temporarily blocked oil and gas drilling on 300,000 acres of federal leases in Wyoming Tuesday, arguing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "did not sufficiently consider climate change" when auctioning off the land, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Mizina / iStock / Getty Images

By Ryan Raman, MS, RD

Oats are widely regarded as one of the healthiest grains you can eat, as they're packed with many important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Read More Show Less