Report: Hydraulic Fracturing Not To Blame For Michigan Quakes


The Michigan oil and gas industry received some vindication recently when it was announced that hydraulic fracturing likely had nothing to do with the 2015 earthquakes in Michigan.

According to a story posted on MLIVE, a report released by the U.S. Geological Survey confirms that neither of those quakes was related to human activity such as drilling for gas or oil.

The report shows that many earthquakes in other parts of the country, though, were induced by drilling practices such as the wastewater injection associated with fracking.

A forecast for predicted earthquakes in 2016 shows a higher chance of earthquake damage in some of those areas, such as Oklahoma.

Monday's U.S. Geological Survey earthquake hazard map for the first time included covering both natural and "induced" quakes, those associated with drilling.

The map forecasts those areas in the central United States that now may experience hazards on a par with California.

In Michigan, the nearest hydraulic fracturing activity was more than 50 miles away from the May 2 quake's epicenter and took place several years ago, according to the state official overseeing regulation of oil and gas wells.

Hal Fitch said following the quake last year that he was certain it was unrelated to fracking or other drilling in the area.

"I am extremely confident there is no connection," said Fitch, a geologist who is director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals.

That opinion was echoed by David Barnes, professor of geosciences at Western Michigan University.

"I'm as certain as a scientist can be" that there is no connection, Barnes said at the time.


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