Scientists have discovered that a series of earthquakes that rattled Oklahoma in the past years are mostly man-made — they are caused by large volumes of fracking wastewater injected into the ground. They analyzed more than 10,000 wastewater injection wells where 96 billion gallons of fluid – leftover from hydraulic fracturing – are pumped yearly.
The scientists developed an advanced computer model that looks at the joint effects of injection volume, depth and location. They then simulated the impacts using six years of data from 10,000 active wells in Oklahoma’s ‘induced seismicity zone’.
According to experts, companies drilling for oil and gas shouldn’t inject waste within 600 to 1500 feet (200 to 500 meters) of the geologic basement as that region is usually crisscrossed with earthquake faults. The closer you get to the faults, the more likely you are to trigger them.