Local Earthquakes, the Rio Grande Rift and Fracking

We have long suspected the connection between our recent local earthquake swarms, including the large 5.3 magnitude earthquake that happened in August 2011, and the fracking and deep injection wells that are used by the Oil and Gas Industry. Recently there have been many reports connecting the oil and gas industry practices as the catalyst for causing many of these earthquakes.

What makes this even more risky in this area of Southern Colorado near Trinidad is that this area is in a known earthquake zone called the Rio Grande Rift. What this means is that Trinidad Colorado is in an area that is active and alive.

Photo from Wikipedia Commons

“The Rio Grande Rift, a thinning and stretching of Earth’s surface that extends from Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains to Mexico, is not dead but geologically alive and active, according to a new study involving scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

“We don’t expect to see a lot of earthquakes, or big ones, but we will have some earthquakes,” said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Anne Sheehan” Source

If you are interested tomorrow, this Wednesday April 18th, Anne Sheehan, professor of geophysics at the University of Colorado, will give her presentation “Earthquakes! Far Away and Close to Home” at 7 p.m. at the Louisville Public Library, 951 Spruce St. Louisville Colorado near Boulder. Find out more at the link below.

Read more:http://www.coloradodaily.com/latest-stories/ci_20407246/cu-boulder-geophysics-prof-give-free-talk-louisville#ixzz1sJP1B5A1

There seems to be an article online everyday about the relationship between the recent outbreak of earthquakes and fracking and deep injection wells used by the Oil and Gas Industry. My question is how will they regulate this and keep it from happening. I recently ran across an article that discussed that earthquakes are a “known” calculated risk by the Oil and Gas Industry.

“Small earthquakes are a recognized risk of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, a procedure in which companies unlock energy reserves by pumping millions of litres of water underground to fracture shale rock and release the natural gas trapped inside.” and “The researchers found a proportional relationship between the volume of fluid injected and the magnitude of the earthquake.”  Source

So let me ask you “if this is a calculated and recognized risks then would not the Oil and Gas Companies be responsible for any and all damages caused by the earthquakes?”. I know that a number of local residents here in Trinidad Colorado had their homes damaged by the recent earthquakes. Including the recent damage to the Historic Opera House on Main Street. All of these people have been left with anywhere from minor to serious damage to their homes and businesses and insurance will not cover the damage.

I have been following the earthquakes since the first one reported in this area from 2000 on and I find it very interesting that most of these have been located and centered near the deep injection wells and or gas wells in Las Animas County. Humm…..very interesting indeed.

Here are some recent articles on the relationship between Fracking, Deep Injection and Earthquakes around the US.

What does this mean to you? Have you been affected by the recent swarm of earthquakes and if so how? Please share your story with and comment below.