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Increase in Valley quakes stirs curiosity, concern



Published: Mon, March 17, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

Geologists worry fracking, temblors are linked

By Will Drabold

Columbus Dispatch

For 100 years, Mahoning County had not experienced a sizable earthquake. But a little more than two years ago, the ground in the region started to shake. There have been a dozen earthquakes in the area near Youngstown since.

In fact, earthquakes have happened at a greater rate across Ohio in recent years than they had for more than a century.

On average, there were two quakes a year in Ohio greater than magnitude 2.0 between 1950 and 2009. But between 2010 and 2014, that average rose to nine, according to a Columbus Dispatch analysis of Ohio Department of Natural Resources data. Fracking became more prevalent during the same time period.

Nationwide, an average of 100 magnitude 3.0 or higher temblors occurred each year between 2010 and 2012. The average annual rate from 1967 to 2000 was 21, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In Mahoning County, an injection well began pumping millions of gallons of fracking waste into underground caverns near Youngstown in 2011. A series of earthquakes followed, and the state ordered the injection well to be shut down. Earthquakes across the nation have been blamed on injection wells.

In the past year, several fracking wells were drilled near Lowellville, and at least one began producing oil and gas. A series of earthquakes followed in the past two weeks, and the state ordered a nearby fracking well to be shut down.

Although state officials say they don’t know whether fracking caused the earthquakes — it would be a first in the United States — geologists worry that the two are connected.

Arthur McGarr, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist who is leading a national study on man-made earthquakes, said he, too, is curious about the lastest Mahoning County temblors.

“If these earthquakes are the direct results of the fracking operations, it’s fairly unusual, and it’s a good mystery that needs to be solved,” McGarr said.

He said his agency is considering placing its own portable seismometers in the area if ODNR doesn’t take measurements.

Mark Bruce, an ODNR spokesman, said the department is considering the option. In the meantime, the agency is reviewing data from Texas-based Hilcorp Energy, which operates the Lowellville wells.

Questions about the area’s geology and drilling went unanswered recently by ODNR officials and several state geologists, who said they were told not to comment.

Hilcorp owns eight fracking wells in Mahoning County. One was shut down after the most-recent earthquakes, but another continues to operate nearby. The company would not comment on its operations.

The county has one known fault line running through it — in its southwestern corner, said Mark Baranoski, a geologist with the state’s Division of Geological Survey.

“We know more about the surface of the moon then we do about the basement in Ohio,” he said.

There might be many other fault lines that won’t reveal themselves until additional earthquakes are recorded.

After the 2011 earthquakes near Youngstown, researchers found that a fracking-waste injection well linked to them had been drilled on an ancient fault line.

The fracking waste that was pumped more than 9,000 feet below the surface triggered the earthquakes, said Won Young-Kim, a senior scientist who runs a regional earthquake-monitoring network at Columbia University in New York.

Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to shatter shale and free trapped oil and gas. The process can take days or weeks, and wells can be refracked.

During the fracking process, some of the fluids bubble back up with the gas. Oil and gas wells also produce saltwater contaminated with metals and radioactive materials that have been trapped underground for millions of years.

Kim said he is concerned that during fracking, fluids can push through porous rocks deep below ground and find “weak zones” or fault lines.

Tom Stewart, with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said no one should jump to the conclusion that fracking caused the quakes.

“Most experts will say the correlation of a seismic event, some rumbling from a hydraulic fracturing operation is extremely rare,” Stewart said. “At this stage, good scientific analysis is crucial to the process.”

Dispatch Reporter Jennifer Smith Richards and Assistant Metro Editor Doug Caruso analyzed data for this story. Will Drabold is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.

wdrabold@dispatch.com


Comments

1Southside_Res(166 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

As a society, how much more stupid can we be when we allow these injection wells to lay waste to our lands?

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2euclidadult(24 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Reporting, or sensationalism?

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376Ytown(1209 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

euclidadult: Reporting. Especially "Questions about the area’s geology and drilling went unanswered recently by ODNR officials and several state geologists, who said they were told not to comment." The public has a right to know. Hope the reporters continue to probe.

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4euclidadult(24 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Buried deep in the story, but not as deep as your quote:

Although state officials say they don’t know whether fracking caused the earthquakes — it would be a first in the United States -

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5bunkpatrol(63 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

With all of the collusion between government, media, and industry, and the "proprietary" argument used to usurp scientific safety standards, one can be sure that there are plenty of "firsts" from this new industry that the public will never know of until its way too late.

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676Ytown(1209 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Interesting: This article written 11/15/11 confirms link between fracking and earthquakes: http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/U...

" On 2 November a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing was responsible for two tremors which hit Lancashire and possibly as many as fifty separate earth tremors overall.

The British Geological Survey also linked smaller quakes in the Blackpool area to fracking. BGS Dr. Brian Baptie said, "It seems quite likely that they are related," noting, "We had a couple of instruments close to the site and they show that both events occurred near the site and at a shallow depth."

But, back to Oklahoma. Austin Holland's August 2011 report, "Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma" Oklahoma Geological Survey OF1-2011, studied 43 earthquakes that occurred on 18 January, ranging in intensity from 1.0 to 2.8 Md (milliDarcies.) While the report's conclusions are understandably cautious, it does state, "Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located."

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7James_S(268 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

"Exxon CEO: Don't frack in my backyard" — RT USA 2-23-2014

"​Oklahoma earthquake spike likely linked to fracking boom" — RT USA 2-20-2014

"Texans angrily protest fracking after 30 earthquakes hit town" — RT USA 1-21-2014

"Massachusetts seeks 10-yr ban on gas fracking after series of Texas quakes" — RT USA 11-30-2013

"Fracking to blame? Texas rocked by 16 earthquakes in last 3 weeks" — RT USA 11-28-2013

" ‘We say no to shale gas’: World unites against fracking" — RT News 10-20-2013

"EPA [now under control by Obama and the Executive Branch] refuses to finalize study blaming fracking for water pollution" — RT USA 6-23-2013

"Genie Energy"

And for the Truth about what's really going on in the Ukraine go to RT

"Truth is tyranny in the empire of lies"

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8thirtyninedollars(173 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Well Tom Stewart is just a shen for the oil industry. Of course he will say the event is rare. Yet we know more and more each day that fracking and injection wells are related to these earthquakes in regions that haven't experienced them historically.

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9UticaShale(850 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Okay, all you incognito self-proclaimed scientist. What now for our energy, show us the way, let's see it? You fools suck up energy as much as the next guy. Enlighten us, "show me the energy!"

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10cambridge(2969 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

The energy from wind, solar, geothermal and land fill gas is clean, green and unlimited.

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11James_S(268 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

EXPORT EXPORT EXPORT say our NATO-devoted politicians

"It would be at least two or three years before Washington has in place means of delivering US natural gas achieved by fracking and contamination of US water supplies to Europe to take
the place of Russia's cutoff of energy to Europe."

Ohio's natural gas from fracking, after it is liquefied, is going to be EXPORTED to the European Union (NATO) once Russia cuts off its supply of gas to the EU....

all because of the NATO war against Russia via Ukraine/Crimea

NATO Ohio citizens will not be able to use the gas from fracking in NATO OHIO to heat their homes because our NATO politicians have dictated to us NATO Ohioans that our NATO OHIO gas from fracking will be EXPORTED.

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12UticaShale(850 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

James, you okay bro, slow down, you might hurt yourself.

http://www.vindy.com/news/2014/mar/17...
"Yeah it's all because of fracking!"

Cambridge so you are back, can you try to debate now like a civilized human.
Show us how to harness this green energy and the finnacial entities to bankroll projects. Show us a business plan and you be the first to invest. I'm sure BIG money will follow you anywhere, because YOU are the authority. You publicly anounced here that you are a millionaire, put your money where your mouth is. Folks Cambridge will now show us the way to green energy!

If this is too much for you, you can begin name calling again.

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13DwightK(1236 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Utica, everyone wants energy but no one wants their house to shake. If fracking is causing these earthquakes then the drilling has to stop, just like the injection well had to be closed in 2012.

I'm willing to pay more for heat and electricity if it means my house isn't falling down.

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14cambridge(2969 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

UselessShrimp....you are both defective and irrelevant. You have no credibility as documented in a previous post by TAXEDOFF below. Just go crawl back under your rock.

Ron Eiselstein has 50 records of lawsuits on the Mahoning County Clerk of Courts website, all but one in which he is the defendant. Many are judgements for money that remain open. He owes money to the city of Youngstown for demolition in the thousands according to the Clerk of Courts website.

He is also affiliated with Firepearl, which has 20 records listed, again as the defendant, and many are judgements for money that remain open.

Aside from numerous tax LIENS under his name. He also has many listed under this name Caraga Ltd.the following pages from the Ohio Secretary of State shows his name as the statutory agent.

VINDY ARTICLE
YOUNGSTOWN — A magistrate rescheduled the sentencing date for a Youngstown man found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor for cutting trees without the city's permission. Magistrate Anthony Sertick Jr. of Youngstown Municipal Court on Wednesday postponed the sentencing until next Wednesday for Ron Eiselstein, 46, of Fifth Avenue. Eiselstein pleaded no contest Nov. 27 to harvesting timber without a permit and was found guilty by Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr. Eiselstein cut trees on an East Side property in October with the owner's permission, but without a city permit to harvest timber.

Also Wednesday, Eiselstein was arraigned in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on a fifth-degree felony theft charge. He is accused of cutting down trees without authorization in August from a

Ron Eiselstein has 50 records of lawsuits on the Mahoning County Clerk of Courts website, all but one in which he is the defendant. Many are judgements for money that remain open. He owes money to the city of Youngstown for demolition in the thousands according to the Clerk of Courts website.

He is also affiliated with Firepearl, which has 20 records listed, again as the defendant, and many are judgements for money that remain open.

Aside from numerous tax LIENS under his name. He also has many listed under this name Caraga Ltd.the following pages from the Ohio Secretary of State shows his name as the statutory agent.

Some back ground on Ron:

Aside from his shrimp farms scheme, which by the way he's looking for investors.

I realize Ron must be upset at me for exposing his facts. But they are, what they are, court records

VINDY ARTICLE
YOUNGSTOWN — A magistrate rescheduled the sentencing date for a Youngstown man found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor for cutting trees without the city's permission. Magistrate Anthony Sertick Jr. of Youngstown Municipal Court on Wednesday postponed the sentencing until next Wednesday for Ron Eiselstein, 46, of Fifth Avenue. Eiselstein pleaded no contest Nov. 27

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15dontbeafool(835 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

I'm going to do what Utica (Ron) does and chop down illegal timber. I'll heat the house with the wood burner.

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16Attis(862 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

corporate-created earthquakes are just the (upside-down) tip of the fracking iceberg:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22407-...

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17lovethiscity(141 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

UticaShale aka Ron Eiselstein. You're a slum lord, tax evading, scam artist with zero credibility in this community. How do the fine folks at Rodef Sholom, where you hold an executive position, abide by a piece of lickspitttle like you?

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18UticaShale(850 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

And what do we have here but the FrackPots swarming in like cockroaches as they hide behind their insignificant lives.

This is the best of the Vindy Trolls Folks right here. Not one of them would come out and fight like a real man or climb out of their Moma's basements. They rally behind the likes of TAXEDOFF, thrown out years ago. Cambridge can't debate so he regurgitates ancient material, you have anything new?
LovethisCity, why lie about about Executive position, you have been flagged on that one liar!
@Fool, Eiselstein's been logging the Eastside every year. I understand he is spearheading giving a cemetery back to the community. Thanks , I'll be Eiselstein anyday than COWARD TROLLS on the Vindy. You guys make my day today.
Now back to the only brave one to debate here. Dwight, of course no one wants earthquakes and that is why Hilcorp agreed to cease. But to conclude that Fracking caused the tremor, plays into the low information school of thought represented by the TROLLS here. :')

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19300(553 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

I LOVE IT!!!!!! Now everyone knows UticaShale for who he really is!!!

Remember this the next time he comes on here and pretends to be part of the "industry". In fact, I even remember when UticaShale first appeared, he even tried to portray himself as a Texan who had just recently relocated up here! Now, come to find out, he was just pretending to be someone he wasn't. He's even been, allegedly, tossed off his other favorite message board when they got sick of his self-aggrandizement efforts!

Today's been a great day!

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20300(553 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Jesus Christ, you're even referring to yourself in the third person now! Where's Edward Murrow when you need him? "Have you no sense of decency?"

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21UticaShale(850 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Hey 300! Looky here, you keep vomiting lies, this guy ain't kicked out ,he is featured. I'll be Eiselstein anyday compared to a COWARD TROLL like you. What are you hiding from, insignificant one?

http://shaleforum.com/forum/topics/10...

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22300(553 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

SMH, still writing in the 3rd person...

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23300(553 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Also, "shaleforum" isn't the same forum you used to brag about, now is it Utica? It appears like you're trying to give the impression that it wasn't true, and yet if I go to "go marcellus" there was clearly a threat entitled something along the lines of "Is (insert name here) banned?" And, lots of comments underneath appearing to confirm it.

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24lovethiscity(141 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Eiselstein...the only troll here is you...a tax evading, judgement riddled, con man and slum lord masquerading a an oil baron. Flag that you wannabe lickspittle!

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25300(553 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

^ This. Exactly!!!!!

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26UticaShale(850 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

I love it , I love it, I love it, The Lovester here is all brave and feisty. Face it Lovester, you are a TROLL, an insignificant being who hides behind this BULLY persona. You aren't a real man are you. How is it to have such a pissant life? :')

@300, come on , I can take two or three of you TROLLS on. ShaleForum, Marcelluss, they are the same EINSTEIN. Tell me something, you really don't have a life do you, are your kids proud of you? Do they look up to other kids and say yeah look at my Dad over here, he blogs on the Vindy, he's SIGNIFICANT and writes about everything while hiding his real life. I dare you two to give us a crumb of significance to your lowlives? :')

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27dontbeafool(835 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Troll caught trolling.... Named as a defendant in court 49 times? You might as well create a new user name and persona now.

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28300(553 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

I'm done feeding the troll! But, I will say, I had not idea how interesting the Vindy would be when I originally came to the site today!

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29lovethiscity(141 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Eiselstein...you haven't a clue who you are f'ing with. Not a clue, son. But, if you did, and you will, you're going shiite those tiny little pants you put on.

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30UticaShale(850 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

What a bunch of worthless nobody's , remnants of the braindrain.

Lovester, you're nothing but a COWARD.

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31YSU_Alumna(34 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Wow! You guys get personal and vicious! Speaking as a science teacher in Florida (raised in Youngstown) who recently assigned her high school students a text book linked article to read on hydraulic fracturing entitled "Fracking Fuels Energy Debate", I read THIS article & the comments associated with it also shaking my head. Although I feel everyone has a right to their opinion and there are pros and cons to fracking, I also know that there was never an earthquake in Youngstown before fracking and there were many earthquakes also in other fracking vicinities of the U.S. So....if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck; one and one USUALLY equals two.

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