Fracking-Induced Earthquakes Weaker than Natural Quakes, Study Reveals

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Fracking-Induced Earthquakes Weaker than Natural Quakes, Study RevealsMan-made earthquakes, which are caused by fracking and other energy drilling activities, are less shaky and tend to be 16 times weaker than natural ones with the same magnitude, according to a new US study.

Individuals feeling the ground when induced quakes, which aren’t natural, occur, reported experiencing less shaking compared to those feeling the ground in the event of natural earthquakes with the same magnitude, a research conducted by U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Susan Hough showed.

However, distance is a key factor, with persons within 10 kilometers of the tectonic faults reporting that they didn’t notice any difference, regardless of whether the earthquake was a natural or an artificial one.

Hough researched artificial and natural earthquakes of the same size in the eastern and central United States from 2011 to 2013. She then compared the recorded magnitude to the responses given by individuals through the USGS electronic “Did You Feel It” poll. Hough found that while two types of tremors, one artificial and the other natural, may be of the same magnitude when monitored using seismographs, people reported significant differences in how they felt.

How artificial earthquakes felt was roughly the same as the natural earthquake with a 0.8 less magnitude, reported CBC News. This means a 3.8 induced earthquake reportedly felt the same as a 3.0 quake. USGS magnitude scale is complex, but a decline in 0.8 magnitude equals 16 times less energy released or strength.

However, the difference can be bigger, said Hough. She cited an Aug. 2011 5.8 induced earthquake in Trinidad, Colorado that felt similar to a 4.0 quake, which is 90 times less strong, according to responses given in the “Did You Feel It” polling system.

The study, which was published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday, analyzed earthquakes in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Ohio and Arkansas. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com