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Earth Science

Oil Recovery May Have Triggered Texas Tremors 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the breaking-the-planet dept.
ananyo writes "First came reports of earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing and the reinjection of water during oil and gas operations. Now U.S. scientists are reporting tremors may have been caused by the injection of carbon dioxide during oil production. The evidence centers on a sudden burst of seismic activity around an old oil field in the Permian Basin in northwest Texas. From 2006 to 2011, after more than two decades without any earthquakes, seismometers in the region registered 38 tremors, including 18 larger quakes ranging from magnitude 3 to 4.4, scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The tremors began just two years after injections of significant volumes of CO2 began at the site, in an effort to boost oil production. 'Although you can never prove that correlation is equal to causation, certainly the most plausible explanation is that [the tremors] are related to the gas injection,' says Cliff Frohlich, a seismologist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics in Austin, who co-authored the study."
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Oil Recovery May Have Triggered Texas Tremors

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:27PM (#45338359)

    Graboids!

    captcha: "bedrock".. Lol.

  • Doesn't matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:28PM (#45338363) Journal

    Had profit.

  • From TFA (Score:1, Insightful)

    Nor is it clear why nearby oil fields that have also been injected with CO2 have not experienced similar seismic activity.

    Until you figure out why CO2 injection causes problems at one oilfield, and not its neighbors, even though all of them have had similar amounts of CO2 injected, it seems rather more likely than not that the CO2 injection had nothing to do with the tremors.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:38PM (#45338479) Homepage

      Until you figure out why CO2 injection causes problems at one oilfield, and not its neighbors, even though all of them have had similar amounts of CO2 injected, it seems rather more likely than not that the CO2 injection had nothing to do with the tremors.

      Or that rocks will break and fracture in ways that aren't necessarily predictable.

      It can be the cause in one well, and still not have caused the same problem in another well just simply by the local rocks and what's already happened to them.

      I don't think anybody is suggesting "inject CO2, cause earthquake" ... but that the rocks might fracture (or whatever) in ways you don't really have a way to predict very well.

      If it was pumping in the high pressure stuff that lead to unexpected mechanical failure of rock structures, you're never going to get a 100% result on something like that.

      But I do think it highly likely there's more complexity going on than they're capable of knowing or controlling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It awoke the Balrog. CO2, they hates it.

      captcha: penance

    • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:51PM (#45338651)

      Nor is it clear why nearby oil fields that have also been injected with CO2 have not experienced similar seismic activity.

      Until you figure out why CO2 injection causes problems at one oilfield, and not its neighbors, even though all of them have had similar amounts of CO2 injected, it seems rather more likely than not that the CO2 injection had nothing to do with the tremors.

      And it couldn't be the Texas drought for the past three years... I mean what would drought have to do with land settling?

    • Nor is it clear why nearby oil fields that have also been injected with CO2 have not experienced similar seismic activity.

      Until you figure out why CO2 injection causes problems at one oilfield, and not its neighbors, even though all of them have had similar amounts of CO2 injected, it seems rather more likely than not that the CO2 injection had nothing to do with the tremors.

      This of course would take cooperation on the part of the oil/gas companies - something unlikely.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @04:43PM (#45339215)

      Until you can figure out why cigarettes causes lung cancer in on person, and not his neighbors who smoked similar amounts, it seems rather more likely that it wasn't the cigarettes that had anything to do with the cancer.

      Frankly, I am not informed enough to have an opinion in this matter. However, even someone as ignorant in the matter as myself can see that your fact does not prove your conclusion. It doesn't prove that there is no link; it only proves that it isn't an absolute direct causation. It could mean that it affects probability and that different results were the luck of the draw. It could mean that there are other contributing factors (that we don't understand).

      • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dragonslicer (991472) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @05:06PM (#45339579)

        Until you can figure out why cigarettes causes lung cancer in on person, and not his neighbors who smoked similar amounts, it seems rather more likely that it wasn't the cigarettes that had anything to do with the cancer.

        Yes, that's absolutely correct. And then studies were done that showed significant statistical correlations between smoking and lung cancer. If it turns out that 80% of the areas where this was done have sudden increases in seismic activity, then there is probably a connection. A single data point is not enough to draw conclusions.

        • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @05:16PM (#45339673)

          Until you can figure out why cigarettes causes lung cancer in on person, and not his neighbors who smoked similar amounts, it seems rather more likely that it wasn't the cigarettes that had anything to do with the cancer.

          Yes, that's absolutely correct. And then studies were done that showed significant statistical correlations between smoking and lung cancer. If it turns out that 80% of the areas where this was done have sudden increases in seismic activity, then there is probably a connection. A single data point is not enough to draw conclusions.

          I would bet every penny I own that such a study would prove at least probable causation. I grew up in Oklahoma (bordering Texas) and for 30 years I never experienced an earthquake there, until 2009 when they started happening on a very regular basis. Coincidentally, most of the epicenters happened to be located near drilling operations.

          • by gravis777 (123605)

            Um, are you refering to GAS drilling, which did start around 2006-2010, or OIL drilling, which is what the article is refering to. OIL drilling has been taking place in Texas for about 100 years.

            http://www.texasalmanac.com/topics/business/oil-and-texas-cultural-history [texasalmanac.com]

            TFA also says that these earthquakes started in 2006, although it peaked in 2009 to 2011.

            The article also says

            The data suggest that there is a previously unidentified fault running through the area, and that the CO2 injections effectively lubricate that fault, enabling slippage. (Scientists documented a series of earthquakes in the area from 1975 through 1982, but those tremors were linked to water injections, also intended to boost oil production.)

            What the article seems to suggest isn't that drilling causes earthquakes, but rather there was an unidentified fault in this area tha

          • by dywolf (2673597)

            Now now!
            If you'd been reading The Oklahoman paper like a proper okie, you'd know that there is "no proven link" between fracking and earthquakes. The "science isnt settled". Just like it's not proven "that burning fossil fules causes global warming", as the paper likes to remind us regularly.

            (For those not in on the joke: The Oklahoman newspaper is owned by a oil/gas billionaire)

        • by sjames (1099)

          This isn't the first data pointing in that direction. It certainly suggests that we should be looking at it further and that the flat denials of any potential for harm (and there are plenty of those) are not really on solid ground (so to speak).

          • I definitely agree that anyone completely denying the possibility is either a complete idiot or has an agenda. It's definitely something that should be investigated more.
          • by mysidia (191772)

            This isn't the first data pointing in that direction. It certainly suggests that we should be looking at it further and that the flat denials of any potential for harm (and there are plenty of those) are not really on solid ground (so to speak).

            Flat denials of any potential for harm are wishful thinking

            They fear so much, that people will think it's causing harm, and call halts on drilling, that they will go to great lengths to assert it must be harmless

            Hoping the more times they say it; that make

            • The more they say it... The more they believe it... This is why political parties and interest groups "own" news organizations (indirectly)

              The nice lady on the morning news had been saying X for 3 months... She even read the cue cards stating supporting "facts" supplied by interested parties... It must be true, I don't need to research it...

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:29PM (#45338385) Homepage Journal

    I know it's a philosophy of science tangent, but this quote caught my attention. I mean in a strict sense, nothing is "proven" in science, so it's technically true. However, to the extent to which concepts can be "scientifically proven", the difference between correlation and causation comes down to one factor: controls. In experimental science, we control for variables by limiting the systems in play directly. In observational science, that's done with statistical controls on other known (and possible) factors. With enough data, that can be done in a manner that is robust enough to be called science.

    I don't think it's fair to take a benign assertion like "correlation is not causation" and extend it to an absolutist position.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by haggais (624063)

      Which, indeed, they did not: 'Although you can never prove that correlation is equal to causation, certainly the most plausible explanation is that [the tremors] are related to the gas injection.'

      In fact, they took the very valid point that coincidence (not even correlation, as CrimsonAvenger correctly notes that other seemingly similar cases do not display the same coincidence) does not imply causation, and then decided to breeze past it and declare that "certainly" that causation is the "most plausible ex

      • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:51PM (#45338641) Homepage Journal

        I wasn't even concerned with the specific assertions in question. I just saw the "never" and my scientific absolutist alarms went off. Correlation is one of the most useful tools in the data collection toolbox, and to assert it has not intrinsic empirical value was bothersome to me.

        It does need to be used responsibly, with controls and awareness of uncontrolled variables. It doesn't lack value for "proving" things. Certainly the summary and abstract didn't give sufficient detail about what might have been considered in this particular case.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:47PM (#45338591) Homepage

      Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'.

      -Randall Munroe [xkcd.com]

      • by Artifakt (700173)

        The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.
          - Damon Runyan

    • by CODiNE (27417)

      If I hit you on the head with my shoe, and it correlates with pain in your head you blame me.

      I immediately retort with "Correlation is not causation!" and insist you had a burgeoning headache which erupted at precisely that moment in time.

      We then contact the Amazing Randy and explain our novel new technique of detecting impending headaches. I predict a headache, smack you on the head once more and we split the $1,000,000.

      "Correlation is not causation" ... I really like that argument.

      Next up... how the cor

    • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @05:43PM (#45339965)
      Correlation may very well not prove causation, but when you don't have a control and all or a non-trivial number of the empirical data points are saying the same thing, you turn to Occam's razor.

      What is more likely...

      That earthquakes are just suddenly occurring where they previously never have and are occurring more frequently and violently where they normally have ... and that it's just pure coincidence that the times and locations are exactly aligned with the advent of the fracking boom?

      Or...

      That earthquakes, which we know are caused by instability in the Earth's crust, just might be result of recently punching massive holes and billions of fissures in the Earth's crust?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nothing stands in the way of oil profits. Not even lives.

    My personal favorite bit is that the fracking guys are exempt from the clean air and clean water acts. Thats some style there.
    Disgusting and sick.. But style. An evil you can remember.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh please. The earthquakes which *might* have been caused did zero damage to any property and took no lives.

      As to your claims about fracking, seems you are *assuming* that it's dangerous, when there is little factual evidence that indicates that it is.

      • by dex22 (239643) <plasticuser@gma i l . com> on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:48PM (#45338611) Homepage

        Given that fracking is a permanent change to the environment that can't be undone, EVER, I'd want to see some pretty compelling evidence that it absolutely can't cause harm, EVER, before being used widely across a bunch of different geologies.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Anyone up for proving a negative?

          You think this is Climate Science or something?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Given that fracking is a permanent change to the environment that can't be undone, EVER, I'd want to see some pretty compelling evidence that it absolutely can't cause harm, EVER, before being used widely across a bunch of different geologies.

          Wasn't pumping any oil out in the first place a "permanent change that can't be undone ever"?

          Or were you planning on recovering all the oil that had ever been pumped, and putting it back somehow?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Zero damage. This time.
        But go back a few years.. The tsunami that hit india might have been caused by deep well injection a thousand miles away.
        Lots n lots of damage that time.

        And the bit about fracking is true. Safety is irrevelant. They ARE exempt from the EPA clean air and clean water acts. Pretty much nothing else in the world can claim that.

        • They ARE exempt from the EPA clean air and clean water acts.

          No, they actually aren't.
          • by speederaser (473477) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @10:45PM (#45342077)

            They ARE exempt from the EPA clean air and clean water acts.

            No, they actually aren't.

            As a matter of fact, Dick Cheney and his hand-picked cronies made damn sure that they are indeed [edcnet.org] exempt [wikipedia.org].

            "However, in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which arose out of Vice President Cheney's Energy Task Force, Congress amended the definition of "underground injection" under the SDWA to specifically exclude "the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities."

  • OK, Got it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:29PM (#45338395)

    Although you can never prove that correlation is equal to causation... we're going to run with it because it works for us.

    Got it.

  • You've pumped oil out from under the ground. That leaves a big ass hole. Perhaps the hole is changing shape because it is no longer supported?

    • You've pumped oil out from under the ground. That leaves a big ass hole. Perhaps the hole is changing shape because it is no longer supported?

      That is the purpose of pumping gas back in to the big ass-hole

      • You've pumped oil out from under the ground. That leaves a big ass hole. Perhaps the hole is changing shape because it is no longer supported?

        That is the purpose of pumping gas back in to the big ass-hole

        Of course, no one is pumping any gas back into the empty aquafers... I wonder if that could be related?

      • under the assumption that the hole that contained rather large molecules of oil will also contain a gas that can pass through much smaller gaps?

      • by sjames (1099)

        I'm not so sure the locals will appreciate a bunch of big assholes full of gas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Contrary to popular belief, it does not leave a big ass hole in the ground. The oil comes from tiny pores within the rock structure so even when the oil leaves it's still solid.

      http://www.geomore.com/porosity-and-permeability-2/

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:37PM (#45338461) Homepage

    One thing I wonder as people talk about this. Now, I am no geologist but, my understanding of fault lines is that there are areas where tectonic plates cross, with one moving over the top of the other, pushing one down and one up. So far so good right?

    So the model I have understood is, the fault compresses over time as the plates move, and then an earth quake happens when the stress is suddenly released, allowing the plates to slip some amount, relieving the stress and starting the process over again from its new position.

    So now if this is an accurate enough description of the process, it seems to me like more frequent, smaller quakes are likely preferable to less frequent larger ones. So could this triggering of earth quakes actually be a....good thing? Is that question even being asked?

    • by alexander_686 (957440) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:53PM (#45338675)

      ...my understanding of fault lines is that there are areas where tectonic plates cross, with one moving over the top of the other, pushing one down and one up. So far so good right?

      Half right. Sometimes it cause by plates rubbing against each other but there are other ways to create earthquakes. Since Texas is far away from any fault lines that I know of I don’t think this is the case.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intraplate_earthquake [wikipedia.org]

      So the model I have understood is, the fault compresses over time as the plates move, and then an earth quake happens when the stress is suddenly released, allowing the plates to slip some amount, relieving the stress and starting the process over again from its new position.

      So now if this is an accurate enough description of the process, it seems to me like more frequent, smaller quakes are likely preferable to less frequent larger ones. So could this triggering of earth quakes actually be a....good thing? Is that question even being asked?

      It has been asked and the answer is maybe. The energy of small earth quakes is trivial to that of large earthquakes. Small earthquakes might just transmit the stress down the fault line resulting in larger earthquakes later. The current models are not very good and this sort of stuff so no answers yet.

      • by mishehu (712452)

        This. [wikipedia.org] There is indeed a fault zone in Texas.

        Also there are different types of faults - convergent and divergent. For example, Mt. St. Helens lies on a convergent fault zone, and Hawaii lies on a divergent fault zone. Yep, volcanoes often form along fault lines.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Half right. Sometimes it cause by plates rubbing against each other but there are other ways to create earthquakes. Since Texas is far away from any fault lines that I know of I donâ(TM)t think this is the case.

        The amount of energy added by injecting CO2 or whatever else is trivial. An earthquake it "causes" would amount to little more than a truck rumbling by. Any energy release greater than that has to have been from energy already there before the fracking. If the injection added enough energy t

        • by sjames (1099)

          The amount of energy added by spraying WD40 on a stuck hinge isn't much either but suddenly the door opens freely.

      • by gravis777 (123605)

        Since Texas is far away from any fault lines that I know of I don’t think this is the case.

        http://legendsofgreenisle.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/texasfaultlines.gif [wordpress.com]

    • by tgd (2822)

      Now, I am no geologist

      Yes, that is certainly true.

      FWIW, what you called out is just one kind of fault -- and not the kind they're talking about here.

      In this case, the concern is that the process is creating new (or growing existing) faults that would've otherwise been stable. That's the reason for the statistics -- you can't see what is happening down deep, but you can certainly see statistically significant changes.

      That's why its so easy for both sides of the fracking debate to confuse the general public -- on something like th

    • Possibly (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Joe U (443617) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:58PM (#45338725) Homepage Journal

      Back in the 1960's this was brought up with wastewater wells.

      Geologists are not sure if the small quakes prevented a larger one, or lead up to a larger one.

      On a somewhat related note, if you want to see why wastewater wells near fault lines are bad, ask Oklahoma with 300+ earthquakes in just a few years.
      http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/man-made-earthquakes/ [usgs.gov]

    • by Megane (129182)

      Indeed: SO WHAT.

      It's the usual fearmongering: ZOMG EARTHQUAKES EVERYTHING FALLING DOWN!

      Except that tiny earthquakes aren't even felt by most people. When it is known that one happened, they are often described as being like a truck rolling by. So yeah, what's the big deal? Some rocks shift a bit, hundreds of feet below the surface. There's more effect here in Texas on building foundations from drought/rain cycles.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah. The whole notion of fracking causing earthquakes is like a Rorschach test for political bias. Liberals will drone on about how this is just another example of oil and gas companies destroying the environment and leaving the locals with the cost (somebody above mentioned insurance).

        Conservatives will immediately begin attack the conclusion and the science. Because modern conservative politics has an anti-environmental stance (for some odd reason), they immediately take issue with the concept of anythin

    • That is how SOME/most quakes happen. There are not that many plate meeting places, but a lot of areas where there are earthquakes.

      I think the theory here is that the only factor that is building up pressure is the injection of gasses/liquids.

    • by trongey (21550)

      Now, I am no geologist but...

      Well, I am a geologist, and I don't like tomatoes. It's not the taste that I don't like; tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, those are all perfectly tasty. It's the texture. I just can't stand the way tomatoes feel in my mouth.

    • by sjames (1099)

      On that scale, rock compresses. Relieve the stress in one place and somewhere down the line, the stress increases. Whoever lives there might not appreciate it so much that you made the 1000 year earthquake happen now. They also won't appreciate the 20 year earthquakes happening at 5 year intervals.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Obviously God is punishing Texas

  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:39PM (#45338493) Homepage
    megacorps never listen.everything from cigarettes to global warming and fracking have all seemed to have this pattern:
    1. new technology or idea proposed with limited research. it gets pushed hard by megacorps who want cash.
    2. problems arise such as seismic disturbance, gas in the water supply, etc.
    3. industry reacts immediately and violently to the concerns of regular citizens. everything classified as an 'isolated event' and media is threatened with advertising boycott if they report too much about it.
    4. mounting evidence suggests new technology is dangerous and has negative consequences.
    5. industry responds insisting everything is OK.
    6. more evidence mounts, legislation gets proposed to curtail the technology and enact regulation
    7. industry pushes back with FUD and insists the effects are 'controversial' and 'unknown' with relation to the technology but that regulation is not the answer because jobs..
    8. deaths, major accidents, and environmental impacts are being seen.
    9. Industry starts gladhanding senators and congressmen to ensure interests are seen to. senators, as usual, are familiar with ignoring constituents with less than a million dollars.
    10. industry no longer formally responds to complaints. evidence consists solely of legislation they crafted and enacted to support their industry.
    11. industry pulls out after investment potential is exhausted or litigation expenses become annoying. pack up, move out, and assign a 'vacant trust' to the property to ensure superfund only kicks taxpayers in the beanbag.
    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @04:01PM (#45338765) Homepage Journal

      Eh, from what I've seen of previous cases, like tobacco or DDT, you eventually end in a state of relatively safe regulation, a few long-running whiners whose neo-liberal idealism won't let them shut-up decades after the science is settled, and life goes on.

      Then again, there's also cases like "wind-mill disease" where the science is decidedly not on the side of the "little people". Taking the absolute position that corporations are always in the wrong will not set you on the course to righteous accuracy.

    • by BStroms (1875462) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @04:05PM (#45338805)

      Don't forget, there are just as many chicken littles as there are big business coverups. For every "smoking isn't bad for your health" there's a "vaccines cause autism." Both scenarios can lead to terrible things. In the particular case of fracking, the studies I've seen tend to lean my opinion toward the chicken little side of things. Even assuming all those studies are nothing but frauds paid for by corporate interests, fracking is already in widespread use.

      If it's really half as terrible a danger to the drinking supplies as it's made out to be, where are all the cases of environmental catastrophe and illness that should be endemic by this point? Putting out fake studies are one thing, but it'd be hard to suppress that kind of event for such a hot button issue in this day and age.

      And forgive me if I'm not overly worried about potentially causing earthquakes up to a 4.4 magnitude.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sarten-X (1102295)

      The other way, where people never listen, is what happened with nuclear power, seat belts, electronics on planes, and vaccines:

      1. New technology or idea proposed with significant internal research. It gets pushed hard by megacorps who see profit made in volume, but the technical research isn't widespread outside the industry.

      2. Problems arise such as cancer, different injuries, slowly-developing illness, etc. Rumors and blame spread as the public is scared into believing anyone with any claim of expertise

      • What you neglected to mention is that the "greenies" are the source of much of the fearmongering in those steps and are in many cases simply anti-corporation, except for new "environmental" companies that many have financial interest in, and mostly anti-science. These are groups such as Greenpeace, which its founder has tried to distance himself from [youtube.com] because he actually cares about the end result for the environment.

        Now gas injection underground seems like a bad idea, but many greenies are in favor of deep

    • by kick6 (1081615)

      megacorps never listen.everything from cigarettes to global warming and fracking have all seemed to have this pattern: 1. new technology or idea proposed with limited research. it gets pushed hard by megacorps who want cash. 2. problems arise such as seismic disturbance, gas in the water supply, etc. 3. industry reacts immediately and violently to the concerns of regular citizens. everything classified as an 'isolated event' and media is threatened with advertising boycott if they report too much about it. 4. mounting evidence suggests new technology is dangerous and has negative consequences. 5. industry responds insisting everything is OK. 6. more evidence mounts, legislation gets proposed to curtail the technology and enact regulation 7. industry pushes back with FUD and insists the effects are 'controversial' and 'unknown' with relation to the technology but that regulation is not the answer because jobs.. 8. deaths, major accidents, and environmental impacts are being seen. 9. Industry starts gladhanding senators and congressmen to ensure interests are seen to. senators, as usual, are familiar with ignoring constituents with less than a million dollars. 10. industry no longer formally responds to complaints. evidence consists solely of legislation they crafted and enacted to support their industry. 11. industry pulls out after investment potential is exhausted or litigation expenses become annoying. pack up, move out, and assign a 'vacant trust' to the property to ensure superfund only kicks taxpayers in the beanbag.

      Except for the part where frac'ing isn't new technology. The oilfield has been frac'ing wells since before cigarettes were unsafe. Hell, we've been injecting CO2 almost that long.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'Twas graboids. And you can take that to the bank.

  • by CCarrot (1562079) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @03:56PM (#45338709)

    Graboids [wikipedia.org] could have migrated to Texas.

    But that can't be! Kevin Bacon killed them all in the end...oh [wikipedia.org], wait [wikipedia.org]...

  • "When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money."

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      only then will we realize that one cannot eat money."

      That sounds to me like a technical challenge. Edible. Money.

      To be more precise, non-counterfeitable edible money which has a ... hmmm ... I haven't worked this out yet ... a nutritional value that is greater than or equal to the nutrition that could be brought with that much money. Otherwise, you'd end up with a loop one way or the other so that you could use money to buy food, then sell the food for more money. Or vice versae. The nutritional and count

  • I can attest that a 3 to a 4.4 is a sleep-through earthquake. On the other hand fracking is bring down the price of natural gas and helping poor people so the cost to benefit ratio is in fracking's favor.
  • REcovery? (Score:5, Funny)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @04:10PM (#45338855) Homepage

    Oil Recovery May Have Triggered Texas Tremors

    Makes it sound like the oil was always ours and the Earth stole it.

  • 'Although you can never prove that correlation is equal to causation, certainly the most plausible explanation is that [the tremors] are related to the gas injection,' says Cliff Frohlich, a seismologist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics in Austin, who co-authored the study."

    I would like to know what are the various possible explanations for the tremors, and the rubric used for evaluating the relative plausibility of those explanations, so that we can all evaluate Mr. Frohlich's opinion th

    • If you read this paper [pnas.org]. It should give you the answer. Makes sense to me but I'm not sciencist and certainly not an expert. All I can say is it seems to me sense if you look at the timing from the point the seismic activity started and the gas injection.
  • If you ever go through West Texas, perhaps on the way to Arizona or Colorado, much of it is a barren wasteland. In some places, the only green growth was around degraded oil spills.
  • "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I guess thats what they're saying !
  • "Although you can never prove that correlation is equal to causation, certainly the most plausible explanation is that correlation is equal to causation."

    There, fixed the quote...

  • 1. The end of the world is nigh and the Big J is coming (oil/gas backers view)

    2. Fracking is causing this.

    Choose one. Because climate change is now, and sticking your head in the tar sands won't change that basic fact.

  • if everything goes awry and they manage to destroy the area, this could become a cautionary tale. we can only hope politicians have the insight and backbone to act when it other shoe drops.

  • The same thing happens when water is pumped deep underground during geothermal energy production. But nobody objects to that.

Cobol programmers are down in the dumps.

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