Yesterday on August 22, 2011 the Trinidad Area experienced three earthquakes throughout the day. The first one, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, was a 2.9 magnitude quake that was reported at 7:52 a.m. At 5:30 p.m. we experienced a 4.6 magnitude quake. Those were mild compared to the 5.3 magnitude quake that we had at 11:46 p.m. last night.
Strongest Earthquake in Colorado in 38 Years
This 5.3 magnitude quake is said to be the strongest in Colorado in almost 38 years. In 1973 there was a 5.7 recorded near Grand Junction. It was felt in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and other states. You can get more details here on the USGS website http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/usc0005idz.php#details
Map of Earthquake Locations near Trinidad
It was reported that some homes got damaged and that there were rock slides along Interstate 25 and Highway 12 but traffic wasn’t interrupted. I would imagine that more reports will come out today sharing more of the damage done.
Are these Earthquakes Caused by Deep Injection
Trinidad experienced a swarm of earthquakes between August and September 2001 and there was a study done on this that you can read here Earthquake Swarm near Trinidad 2001. When this all happened the USGS really wasn’t equipped to monitor this area because their monitoring stations were near Denver and Albuquerque but when they pinpointed the area of activity it was centered very close to the area where Pioneer Resources disposes of what they call “Waste Water”, which is water that they remove from the ground during their Gas Well drilling operations in Las Animas County.
The earthquake swarm in 2001 and these three earthquakes yesterday including this 5.3 magnitude quake all happened in the same area west of Trinidad close to their deep injection well. Is this a co-incidence? Maybe not. In 1961-66 the US Army at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was deep injecting fluids, including toxic chemicals, but in 1966 it is reported “The Army discontinued use of the well in Feb. 1966 because of the possibility that the fluid injection was triggering earthquakes in the area”. You can read that report here http://www.rma.army.mil/cleanup/facts/deep-wel.html and here http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/faq/?categoryID=1&faqID=1
So there is evidence that deep injection could very well be the cause of these earthquakes near Trinidad, what do you think?
Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there was a lot of activity at this deep injection in the recent days or weeks. Seems very interesting that these “Earthquakes” are centered in this area. I hope that someone can do some research into this to see if there is a connection but I can assure you that Pioneer Resources will deny any responsibility. But really isn’t it time that we stand up for Las Animas County and ask for a serious investigation into this.
As I am writing this at 8:11 am on Auguest 23 we just had another 3.9 quake! Pretty concerning…..don’t you think.