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Fri, Feb

Fox Creek Quakes Linked to Volume and Location of Hydraulic Fracturing

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The volume of hydraulic fracturing fluid and the location of well pads control the occurrence and frequency of measurable earthquakes, new research from the Alberta Geological Survey and the University of Alberta shows.

The volume of hydraulic fracturing fluid and the location of well pads control the occurrence and frequency of measurable earthquakes, new research from the Alberta Geological Survey and the University of Alberta shows.

Ryan Schultz has been studying earthquakes in the Fox Creek, Alta., area since they started in December 2013. The seismologist, who works with the Alberta Geological Survey and the U of A, wanted to better understand what was causing the quakes.

Schultz and his colleagues found that when increased volumes were injected in susceptible locations with a nearby slip-ready fault, it transmits extra pressure to the fault line, leading to more numerous measurable earthquakes.

But as Schultz explained, it’s not as simple as more volume equals more earthquakes, a link that scientists have long identified in the practice of hydraulic fracturing dating back to the 1950s. There is another factor at play in the Fox Creek area, and it’s all about location.

Read more at University of Alberta