Until three years ago earthquakes were not only not felt in Poland Township, Ohio they just didn’t occur. Then says Miami University seismologist Robert Skourmal, three years ago oil and gas companies started hydraulic fracturing in the region. Since 2012 there have been 77 quakes. They were small and not felt by residents adds Skourmal. And when the fracking stopped so did the quakes.
But there was one instance in the spring of 2012 where one quake measured 3.o on the Richter scale. While that is considered a minor quake and rarely would it cause damage it is strong enough to be felt by people. According to the U.S. Geological Survey about 49-thousand occur each year. The difference with this one is Skourmal claims it was caused by the fracking process* and he adds that would make it the largest ever in the U.S. caused by fracking. Skourmal admits the process very rarely leads to earthquakes and although hydraulic fracturing has caused larger earthquakes — in British Columbia, for instance — they were still relatively small.
Skourmal and his team of researchers have completed a study, which is published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, compared the timing of the Poland Township earthquakes to the fracking operations. They determined a small portion of the fracking operation was responsible for the earthquakes felt in Poland Township.
An earthquake researcher at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, Danielle Sumy, believes the study is sound and suspects the oil and gas companies are not necessarily causing the quakes as much as they are speeding up the inevitable.
*hydraulic fracturing is the injection of sand, water, and various chemicals into the ground to extract natural gas from shale rock.