Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Was Canada's Latest Earthquake the Largest Fracking Quake in the World?

Energy
Was Canada's Latest Earthquake the Largest Fracking Quake in the World?

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake has indefinitely closed fracking operations in northern Alberta, an area that has experienced a spate of tremors in recent months.

While it is too soon to tell if the temblor was triggered by fracking, if fracking is indeed the culprit, Canada will once again set a world record for the largest earthquake triggered by the controversial drilling process.

The earthquake was reported Tuesday at 11:27 a.m. approximately 30 kilometres west of Fox Creek, Alberta.

Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has ordered the shutdown of the site operated by multinational energy company Repsol Oil & Gas, CBC News reported. The regulator automatically shuts down a fracking site when any seismic activity registers above a 4.0.

"The company has ceased operations ... and they will not be allowed to resume operations until we have approved their plans," AER spokeswoman Carrie Rosa said.

A statement from Repsol confirmed that Tuesday's earthquake occurred during fracking operations.

"Repsol immediately shut down operations and reported the event to the AER and other local authorities," the statement said.

"The company is investigating the event, which includes reviewing and analyzing available geological and geophysical data, as well as the onsite seismic monitoring data. Operations will not resume at this location until a full assessment of the event has been completed and approval has been received from the AER."

Jeffrey Gu, associate professor of geophysics at the University of Alberta, explained to CBC News that the area surrounding Fox Creek has seen hundreds of quakes ranging between 2.0 to 3.0 in the last six months. There were two two fairly large quakes in the area, including a 4.4 in January 2015, Gu said. He added that it was "highly probable" the earthquakes were caused by fracking.

Alberta's provincial energy regulator also said at the time that the quake was likely caused by hydraulic fracturing.

Gu also told CBC News that if fracking induced Tuesday's 4.8 quake, it would be the largest such quake in Canada's history. Actually, such a quake would be the largest such quake in the world.

No injuries or property damages were reported from the temblor, although some residents in the area felt shaken.

"I thought it was just a forklift backing into the wall," St. Albert resident Ken Munroe said in the video below.

Canada has the dubious honor of holding the world record for the largest fracking-induced earthquake. Last month,

British Columbia's energy regulator confirmed that a 4.6-magnitude earthquake that struck the province in August was caused by fracking.

According to Food & Water Watch, earthquakes caused by fracking itself are usually smaller and less frequently felt than earthquakes produced from underground injection control wells. The alarming spate of tremors in Oklahoma, for instance, are very likely caused by the disposal of large quantities of fracking wastewater into underground wells.

Alberta government officials are currently investigating Tuesday's quake.

"The AER has been engaged in a review of fracking, in particular as it relates to this issue, and I'll be asking them to speed that review ... to come up with some recommendations that we can consider sooner than later," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

70 More Earthquakes Hit Oklahoma, Averaging Nearly Three a Day in 2015

Super PAC Credits Hillary Clinton for Selling Fracking to the World

Porter Ranch Is Only Tip of the Iceberg Exposing Catastrophic Impacts of Natural Gas

EPA Scientists Call Foul on Fracking Study, Say Findings ‘Inconsistent With Data Presented’

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less
Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less
The recalled list includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions, which may be tainted with salmonella. Pxhere

Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less
President Vladimir Putin is seen enjoying the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A John Deere agricultural tractor sits under a collapsed building following a derecho storm on Aug. 10, 2020 near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Daniel Acker / Getty Images

A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.

Read More Show Less