It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the media to pretend that fracking is the diet of choice for our voracious appetite for energy. The controversial practice of injecting water, sand, and other materials into fissures to exploit natural gas is known to cause earthquakes, contaminate water and therefore lead to human and animal illnesses, and even create sinkholes 4 football fields wide.
Six-Fold Rise in Quakes
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has an ugly past reaching back to 1947. It’s only been earlier in 2012, however, that seismologist Cliff Frohlich of the University of Texas at Austin confirmed what the public only recently began suspecting (and what corporations have been ignoring): fracking causes earthquakes. (Bloomberg, in fact, reported in April that fracking is the likely suspect in the cause of the sixfold rise in seismic activity between 2000 and 2011.)
Using mobile seismometers, Frohlich studied the seismic activity in about a 23,000-square mile area in the Barnett Shale of the northern part of the state between November 2009 and September 2011.
“We found a lot of events that weren’t getting reported,” Frohlich told LiveScience.
Indeed, he identified 67 earthquake epicenters of 3.0 or less magnitude that hadn’t been reported by the National Earthquake Information Center. Although the Barnett Shale is home to over 100 wells that monthly inject 150,000 barrels of water and were not associated with nearby quakes, Frohlich noted that most of the quakes he found did occur around such injection wells.
He hopes to study the East Ford Shale in Texas, the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, or the Marcellus Shake on the east coast to confirm his theory that when fluids during the fracking process relieve friction on a nearby fault, earthquakes ensue.
Flammable, Radioactive Sinkholes
Lesser known in the mainstream media, however, is fracking’s link to massive sinkholes appearing overnight and leaking radiation across the nation. Virtually no mainstream media outlet has published an investigation connecting fracking, drilling, and mining (as with Texas Brine) with the appearance of these massive anomalies.
Not only are these sinkholes devastating entire swamps and forests, many people have been permanently displaced by their appearance, their contamination of food and water, and their highly flammable—explosive, really—nature. The frustrated cries of ousted residents goes unheard, and likely will until these earth-changing events do something even greedy corporations can’t cover up.
Related Read: Chemicals Used in Fracking