Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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 crowd of climate activists march behind a banner in NYC during Climate Week on September 20, 2020. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Breanna Draxler

After decades on the political periphery, the climate movement is entering the mainstream in 2020, with young leaders at the fore. The Sunrise Movement now includes more than 400 local groups educating and advocating for political action on climate change. Countless students around the world have clearly communicated what's at stake for their futures, notably Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who just finished her yearlong school strike for climate. Youth activists have been praised for their flexible, big-picture thinking and ability to harness social media to deliver political wins, as Sunrise recently did for U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's primary campaign. They necessarily challenge the status quo.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Presidential nominee Joe Biden has not taken a stance on gas exports, including liquefied natural gas. Ken Hodge / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Simon Montlake

For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.

All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less
A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less
A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch