Small Earthquakes Spark Fracking Probe in Pennsylvania



While it’s become routine in Oklahoma to wonder about the connection between earthquakes and fracking sites, Pennsylvania has launched an investigation into a recent similar occurrence.

The quakes that occurred around a fracking site in western Pennsylvania measured only 1.9 magnitude. But now the Pennsylvania Department of environmental Protection has started an investigation to see if the drilling activity was the cause. The quakes were about 10 hours apart and happened near a natural gas well drilling site where fracking was underway.

DEQ spokeswoman Melanie Williams said Hilcorp Energy Co., doing business as North Beaver NC Development was hydraulically fracturing two wells on a four-well pad when seismic monitors detected the first quake. The U.S. Geological Survey indicated the second quake, of the exact same magnitude happened 10 hours later nearly one mile away.

Hilcorp Energy stopped fracking operations and demobilized the same day. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, researchers have never previously tied the gas extraction process to quakes in Pennsylvania.




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