A new study out of the University of Texas at Austin says drilling does not cause earthquakes. Dozens of small tremors were recorded near injection wells where wastewater from energy extraction was pumped deep underground for disposal, but the author of the study says fracking “almost never causes earthquakes.”
“Drilling never causes earthquakes, Cliff Frolich says. “While there are probably millions of hydrofracking jobs, only a few have caused earthquakes and they’ve all been little tiny earthquakes.”
The earthquakes that occurred across Texas were so small, only a few people reported feeling them. Frolich says the injection of water can only trigger an earthquake if a nearby fault is under tectonic stress. He believes the underground fluid might relieve the pressure and causing the fault to relax, which he then says would cause a small quake.
Frolich’s study, however, did not examine a possible link between earthquakes and hydrofracking, but a British study has been quick to point out a lack of evidence linking fracking and tremors. The same study also confirms fracking does not pollute drinking water.