Bluedaze: Drilling Reform Texas Sharon Mon, 02 Feb 2015 01:41:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Super Bowl Earthquakes in Texas Mon, 02 Feb 2015 01:41:12 +0000

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We’ve had three earthquakes in Texas today…so far…

There was a M2.6 and M2.8 in the Eagle Ford Shale that followed the M3.0 from yesterday.

This evening the Panhandle region, not far from Amarillo, had a M3.1.

Hang on neighbors.


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EPA in Arlington during massive air pollution event in Mansfield, Texas Sat, 31 Jan 2015 17:23:13 +0000

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Thursday, Januray 29, 2015, the EPA held a hearing in Arlington, Texas, on the proposed ozone standard. Here are my video comments:

Wednesday night I heard there was a complaint made to the TCEQ due to a horrible odor in Mansfield’s Woodland Estates neighborhood so I took Earthworks’ FLIR GF 320 camera along with me just in case the citizens there needed some empowerment to prove industry is polluting their air.

After making my comments to the EPA, Lance Irwin picked me up and off we went to investigate. The minute we stepped out of the car, we were struck with the unmistakable odor of hydrocarbon fumes. The FLIR camera revealed a substantial release that turned out to be an emergency blowdown. My throat started to swell and burn. We made a complaint to the TCEQ and submitted the video below as part of the complaint.

The official story from the Summit compressor operator is a familiar one to Barnett Shale residents and goes something like this: a spring broke and there was nothing but pure gas that went straight up into heaven and would cause zero problems. But, we disproved the “straight up into heaven” story long ago. As anyone can see from the video, the plume of hydrocarbon fumes is traveling out across the city and all the way past the nearby school. Additionally, “pure gas” is methane which has no odor. A release of this much methane–even pure methane, which this was not–is a great concern because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than CO2 on a 10-year time frame.

In case you are thinking that the TCEQ will surely do something about this, the last I heard, the TCEQ has not responded to the complaints. You are on your own, people!

This is why it is vital that municipalities retain local control of oil and gas development so they can protect the health and safety of their citizens. Clearly we cannot depend on the state regulators for that protection.

If Representative Phil King gets his way, cities will have no control of anything, not even leash laws or dog poop! He has authored two bills, HB 539 and HB 540, designed to make it almost impossible for cities to have any local control.

Mansfield is in the process of trying to beef up their drilling ordinances. Julie Dermansky has a detailed account of that process with pictures on DeSmogBlog.

At the most recent council meeting in Mansfield, Irwin spoke about the danger of just the type of event we witnessed.

I want to bring attention to the council that a very important component of Edge’s application plans for Debbie Lane lease design has been omitted :

1. The current schematic has omitted the required blow down stack for the compressor station

Where is going to be located? Previous 2008 engineering plans disguised it as a water tower. The current plan has eliminated it all together.

Why this is important? It is required as a protective mechanism for compressor stations and is one of the largest single emissions source at a compressor station.

2. What is its function?

They are a safety mechanism that releases a mixture of existing material (methane, gas , Ethane , Benzene, etc) from the piping/pipeline through a valve as a gas plume that can project upwards to 30­60 meters in the air and last for 3 minutes to several hours depending upon the event that caused the release. One blowdown can emit 15MCF of gas on the average.

Events that cause a blowdown are either through:

a. Scheduled maintenance event:

b. Unscheduled (accidential) event:

3. Associated Health Risks:

An exposure to a blowdown would have different health implications than a long­term lower level exposure (ie, yearly average) to the same contaminant when the compressor is online

a). For example:

Next, a range of concentrated emissions can vary by wind , but how far downwind, more than 300­400 feet?

I would not want my grandparent in the Assisted living 700 ft away or my child at Walnut Creek private school on the other side when it happens.

­Electrification doesn’t nullify threat of blowdown

4. Regulations and safety considerations

Due to the unpredictability of a blowdown, reconsider building any walk way close by that may physically put a citizen in the path of the blowdown stack

All that I have mentioned is why we need longer setbacks, closed loop systems, accident prevention, 24/7 infrared camera surveillance, baseline air monitoring and especially at this site 24/7 air monitoring. TCEQ runs on office hours and are always late to respond , A 3 hour blowdown would never see a TCEQ investigator in time .

Hundreds of elderly residents 700 ft from this event are 24/ 7 residents . Schools need to be notified immediately if there is a large spike ­ just last year a young girl died from an asthma attack at the school across the street . The elderly and the school kids did not sign waivers ­ they deserve to be better protected.

Irwin seems to be a profit prophet. (Freudian?)

If you watch the very end of the video, you will see why monitors often do not work. The plume is very skinny initially and it can bypass the monitor entirely.

Monitors are not prevention any more than mammograms. The best way to prevent this kind of exposure, it to keep these heavy industrial facilities out of neighborhoods. Or better yet: see The Solutions Project. Please file this under DUH!


Earthworks Citizen Empowerment Project

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Eagle Ford Shale M3.0 earthquake Sat, 31 Jan 2015 15:09:28 +0000

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There was a M3.0 earthquake in the Eagle Ford Shale yesterday 14 miles west of Karnes City. This is what the area looks like on Google Maps.

EagleFord-3.0Scientists say the geology in the Eagle Ford Shale is complex and seismic activity there is associated with injection and extraction. (See Subsidence)

Here is the Event Page


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Fracking and Texas earthquakes Tue, 20 Jan 2015 04:44:10 +0000

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“The way we describe earthquakes is a bit like an epidemic,” said Ellsworth. “One earthquake has the potential to trigger others.” Source

TexasTop10Texas ranked 8th in 2013 in the top ten states for earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or grater.

Texas had 16 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater, ranking it eighth for 2013. In 2009, it had two quakes of that strength. There have been many more quakes than that around Azle, Texas, but most were below magnitude 3.0. SourceEE News

Prior to the fracking boom, Texas was one of the least likely places in the United States for earthquakes.

Man-made earthquakes are nothing new.

We have known since 1870, that man’s actions can cause earthquakes. We have known since the  1960s that injection can cause man-made earthquakes.  Extraction of hydrocarbons also causes earthquakes.

The Dallas Morning News reported…

Man-made quakes are something new

…but that is not true. What is new is the frequency of these man-made earthquakes and the “remarkable increase” in man-made earthquakes coincides directly with the fracking boom according to a USGS team.

It should not be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that Texas has become a top earthquake producer because Texas is the top oil and gas producer. Earthquakes follow oil and gas production.

In 2000, Schlumberger, the biggest fracker, published a report  titled Seismicity in the Oil Field. Here is a bit from that report

If the stress change is big enough, it can cause an earthquake, either by fracturing the rock mass—in the case of mining or underground explosions—or by causing rock to slip along existing zones of weakness. The situation in regions of hydrocarbon recovery is not always well understood: in some places, extraction of fluid induces seismicity; in others, injection induces seismicity. In many areas where the rock is not under large tectonic stresses, the seismic energy released during induced events is low—typically of magnitude 0 to 3—and not even felt on the earth’s surface. However, if the rock mass is already under large tectonic stresses, the energy added by man’s endeavors can have a destabilizing influence. Even minor actions can trigger strong seismicity.
Some 40 examples are known in which reservoir production caused significant changes in the seismic activity of a neighboring region.

I highlighted underground explosions because most people don’t realize it but fracking requires underground explosions. They have to blow holes in the drill pipe and shatter the shale before they can frack and that takes explosives, which they haul through our streets. You can watch a 2 minute movie about perferation HERE and read a list of what might be in a perf gun (11 pages of skull and crossbones)

Recap: Injection, extraction and underground explosions all can cause earthquakes. We’ve known this for a long, long time.


There may be many kinds of injection but I’m going to talk about these three kinds:

  • Fracking injection – one well requires millions of gallons of water, thousands of tons of sand and thousands a gallons of chemicals all injected under very high pressure, 5,000 to 8,000 pounds-per-square-inch (PSI).
  • Waste disposal injection – one disposal well injects under lesser pressure the massive amounts of waste fluids the from many fracked wells.
  • Enhanced recovery injection – this kind of injection has been linked to earthquakes but I know less about it than the other kinds.  Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is used to create pressure in a formation

As I’ve said before: Industry has done such a splendid job of propaganda that the media and public believe the only injection that causes earthquakes is waste injection. If you understand the fracking process and think logically about it, you will see that we are redistributing massive amounts of liquids and solids and causing imbalances. See these diagrams drawn by a petroleum engineer. Diagram.

Hydraulic fracturing is injection and hydraulic fracturing has caused earthquakes (see a list here). But industry tries to deny any involvement. It’s the fracking industry’s Deadbeat Dad Problem.

Who’s your fracking daddy?The oil and gas industry has narrowly defined fracking to mean only the moment they inject their fluids into the hole and fracking is over when they pull out. They are trying to dodge responsibility for the whole realm of descendant problems their actions create.

The industry is like deadbeat dads who, in this case, inject toxic fluids into a hole in the ground and walk away from responsibility for the consequences.

The public ends up paying while industry walks away with their profit.

Here’s an example where fracking’s Joe Camel is harassing a journalist for an article about fracking earthquakes:

I’ve written a great deal about earthquakes for a long time. But, as fracking expands and the “remarkable increase” in man-made earthquakes continues, new people become interested. So I guess I’ll have to keep writing about earthquakes for no telling how much longer.

Please see: Dear Irving… for some frightening facts about man-made earthquakes and this post for some updated news.

Update: The epidemic continues with 4 earthquakes (so far) today. See the list of reported earthquakes on this post.

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Updated: FLIR videos show emissions in Flower Mound, Texas Fri, 16 Jan 2015 21:56:48 +0000

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Yesterday, Flower Mound residents were reporting burning eyes, headaches, sore throats and bloody noses and, according to hearsay, one medical professional said these recent complaints were in record breaking numbers. So I decided to see what I could see with the FLIR GF 320 camera.

It’s no wonder Flower Mound residents are complaining. I started complaining about 30 minutes after arrival and stopped complaining about 30 minutes after leaving. Everywhere is a gas well pad site and as production dwindles, lift compressors are added to the equipment on each site. These compressors are permitted as a separate source of pollution–an additional 25 tons of volatile organic compounds per year.

First I took video at the Hilliard Unit which is very close to two schools and is surrounded by very lovely homes. I couldn’t get close to this facility but was still able to pick up emissions.

Next was the infamous Bunn Unit. This is another facility that is way too close to a school and neighborhoods.

Next was the Sam Wilson facility on Scenic Dr. We saw the craziest thing here. From the piece of equipment in the photo below, that looks like some kind of incendiary device, we saw wet looking vapors shooting up about 15′ high. I got out of the vehicle as fast as I could but not fast enough to capture it on video. Whatever it was stank horribly and made my throat swell.

spurting stack

The Sam Wilson Unit and Compressor Station is another infamous facility that never fails to preform.

Previously from this facility:
Catastrophic” emissions at Williams Barnett Shale facility in Flower Mound
This same facility had the huge methane plume when Piccaro did the Methane Mapping.

And then the Bob Smith. If I remember correctly, “Shiloh Chris” lives nearby.

And last, but not least, is the Cummings Unit, the site of frequent spills, that is tragically near a Montessori School

You might have thought that Flower Mound’s fracking problems were all over because of their 1500′ setback. No so, apparently.

Update: Let me add that I am a certified Optical Gas Imaging Thermographer. I have the same certification the TCEQ and industry has and I was certified by the same instructor who certifies them.  So I always get a kick out of it when good-old-boys say the FLIR GF 320 camera is only picking up heat.

This was sent to me via text. It’s probably from the Flower Mound Cares Facebook page <-shudder->. The FLIR GF 320 camera does detect heat but it does not detect hot air as THIS VIDEO shows. The plume that you see trailing off in the videos is VOCs.

Thanks Michael.


Gases Detected and Minimum Detected leak rate (MDLR)

Independent laboratory (third party) testing confirms that the GasFindIR cameras can see the following gases at the minimum detected leak rate (MDLR):

  • 1-Pentene – 5.6g/hr
  • Benzene – 3.5g/hr
  • Butane -0.4g/hr
  • Ethane – 0.6g/hr
  • Ethanol – 0.7g/hr
  • Ethylbenzene – 1.5g/hr
  • Ethylene – 4.4g/hr
  • Heptane – 1.8g/hr
  • Hexane – 1.7g/hr
  • Isoprene – 8.1g/hr
  • MEK – 3.5g/hr
  • Methane – 0.8g/hr
  • Methanol – 3.8g/hr
  • MIBK – 2.1g/hr
  • Octane – 1.2g/hr
  • Pentane – 3.0g/hr
  • Propane – 0.4g/hr
  • Propylene – 2.9g/hr
  • Toluene – 3.8g/hr
  • Xylene – 1.9g/hr

And just to be clear: The spurting fountain of likely toxic air pollution is a concern but the ongoing emissions from the compressor station and lift compressors are, IMO, a larger concern.

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URGENT: EPA Hearing on New Ozone Standard Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:12:42 +0000

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Sign up! Speak up! Or hold your breath!

  • Our air is too polluted.
  • It is unhealthy for all of us, but especially kids, seniors and people with chronic diseases like asthma.
  • The science clearly shows that the standard must be strengthened to protect Americans’ health, and the Clean Air Act requires the standards be set to ensure that health is protected.
  • The science is irrefutable.
  • Americans have a right to know when the air we breathe is dangerous to our health.
  • Big Polluters and their allies don’t believe you have the right to know when the air you breathe is dangerous.
  • According to the EPA, a 60 ppb standard would prevent roughly 1.8 million asthmaattacks, 1.9 million missed school days, 6,400 premature deaths.

This is your chance. This is your only chance.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold three public hearings on the proposed updates to the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, also known as smog. EPA has proposed to strengthen the standards to a level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion to better protect Americans’ health and the environment, while taking comment on a level down to 60 ppb. The agency estimates that the benefits of meeting the proposed standards will significantly outweigh the costs, preventing asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, among other health effects.

WHEN: Thursday, Jan 29, 9 am-7:30 pm

WHERE: Arlington Council Chambers,

Arlington City Hall
101 W. Abram Street
Arlington, Texas, 76010

EPA will hold public hearings on proposed updates to the national air quality standards re: smog. EPA has proposed to strengthen the standards to a level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion to better protect Americans’ health and the environment, while taking comment on a level down to 60 ppb. The EPA sees the health benefits of meeting the proposed standards will significantly outweigh the costs, preventing asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths.

Sign up NOW.

Contact for a time slot or call 919.541.5507 (Email works better).

More information on the proposal and instructions for submitting written comments:


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Comments to Denton City Council on Gas Well Ordinance Wed, 14 Jan 2015 05:45:23 +0000

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The City of Denton is working on updating their drilling ordinance. I’ve sent them comments via email but tonight I made comments at the public meeting. Here’s what I had to say minus the ad lib.

Sharon Wilson
Allen, TX 75002

Require electric motors on rigs and line compressors to prevent ongoing pollution like this.


I am a certified Optical Gas Imaging Thermographer with the same certification TCEQ and industry has. The same instructor who certifies TCEQ investigators certified me.

I’ve been taking videos in Denton for over a year using a FLIR camera that makes visible the invisible air pollution from oil and gas facilities. Most of these emissions are ongoing and can and should be prevented.

Pressurized flowback tanks should be mandated. Three workers died recently from exposure to flowback fumes. Residents in Southlake & Colleyville did testing at the peak of flowback and found very high levels of dangerous toxins in their yards. We tested during the very end of flowback in the Vintage area and detected benzene over TCEQ long-term levels.

Make vapor recovery units mandatory.

A video I took in South Texas was connected by an A&M atmospheric scientist to a spike of hydrocarbons on a TCEQ air monitor 20 miles away from the facility.

The facility here (Rayzor West Gas Unit) is upwind from Selwyn School.

Establishing a protective setback is the best way to protect residents. The setback should be a minimum of 1500’ with no exceptions including the reverse setback for new construction.

Flaring should be prohibited except in an emergency as defined by the Texas Railroad Commission, or instead of venting emissions from the gas buster.

Require 3rd party Air monitoring paid for by industry. Air monitoring is not preemptive because you are not setting new standards above the state, but attempting to ensure compliance with state standards.

Prohibit pits: Waste pits are primitive and a sign of bad industry practice, greed and laziness. Even the new BLM rules prohibit pits.

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Yes, fracking is a dangerous job. Duh. Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:18:11 +0000

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joe camel in fracklandiaI wish I had time to respond to all the misleading “information” put out by the fracking Joe Camels. But I don’t have that kind of time. I do feel compelled to respond to this question posed on Twitter last week:

Is #fracking dangerous? The injury rate for the oil and gas industry is 60% lower than the national average.

LINK to tweet with misleading graphic.

Update: The chart uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is compiled by self-reported data from industry. Injuries are easily covered up by sending workers to industry doctors and telling them to STFU (this practice was self-reported to me by workers). It’s not so easy to cover up dead bodies.

So what the graph really means, if industry can be trusted to report injuries accurately, is that workers are less likely to break a leg on a fracking job than to die by fire.

OSHA chief lauds progress in drilling industry
Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter
Published: Wednesday, December 3, 2014

But the death rate remains “far higher than the national average,” Michaels noted at the OSHA Oil & Gas Safety and Health Conference. He added in a session afterward that the industry’s progress is best measured by fatality statistics rather than injury data because “there’s a culture” of not reporting injuries. He stressed that much work remains.

“This is one of the most dangerous industries in the country,” said Michaels, whose official title is assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health. “The fatality rate is still way too high.”

At least 16 drilling industry workers died in fires, explosions last year
Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, January 12, 2015

The only “industry” to have more fire and explosion fatalities than oil and gas in 2013 was firefighting…

Yeah, fracking is dangerous.


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BREAKING: Texas Railroad Commission to start naming DFW earthquakes Wed, 07 Jan 2015 14:57:28 +0000

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RRCThe Texas Railroad Commission has just announced they will start naming DFW earthquakes.

The Commission will follow the A to Z system used by the National Hurricane Center to name tropical storms. This morning Irving residents experienced Earthquake Anadarko.

The tentative list for 2015:

  • Anadarko
  • BP
  • Chesapeake
  • Devon
  • ExxonMobil
  • Frontier
  • Gasprom
  • Halliburton
  • Marathon
  • Occidental
  • Petrochina
  • Range Resources
  • Shell
  • Tesoro
  • XTO

The RRC announced yesterday that they will not study the current earthquake swarm in Irving. Instead naming the earthquakes is how the RRC intends to keep their ONE seismologist busy in his free time as he oversees 500,000 oil and gas wells in the state.

For more information on the current DFW earthquake swarm see: Dear Irving and this post.

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Updated: M3.5 North Texas earthquake in Irving today and other frackquake news Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:56:39 +0000

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The earthquake in Irving this morning was M3.5 and I’m sure that left some cracks in concrete and masonry. Check your foundations and walls, people. Take pictures and document the condition.

See the Event Page and please make a report if you felt it.

Also in recent frackquake news, seismologists announced that the massive spike in Oklahoma earthquakes may be due to fracking.

Oklahoma typically had one to three earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater annually from 1975 until 2008, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Last year, the state had 564, far more than any other state except Alaska, as this chart shows. Nineteen of those were of at least magnitude 4.0, which is the point at which earthquakes begin to cause damage.

And a scientific study determined that Fracking caused earthquakes in Ohio.

No earthquakes were ever recorded in this region of Ohio before fracking started, and the shaking stopped after the well was shut down, said lead study author Robert Skoumal, a graduate student in seismology at Miami University in Ohio. Skoumal and other Miami University researchers identified 77 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 1 to 3 that occurred from March 4 to 12.

They were fracking near an “unknown” fault. That’s the problem with fracking: the unknowns. And then there are also the knowns.

For all the rock solid (ha) information you need to know about why Texas is suddenly experiencing earthquakes see: Dear Irving? About those earthquakes.


Update: Just in from an Irving resident, the biggest quake yet happened a few minutes ago (before 4:00 PM). Updating the update: M3.6 Event Page

Update 2: This afternoon there was also a M3.5 earthquake in Snyder Event Page. For more information on Snyder area earthquakes see: CO2 injection for enhanced recovery from shale oil and gas wells has led to 48 earthquakes in Snyder,Texas.

Update 3: There have been 5 earthquakes in Texas today–so far. Four were in Irving (for a total of 20 since November) and one in West Texas. Event Page for M2.9 quake in Irving this evening. And one homeowner has reported damage.

Update 4 ongoing: I’ve lost count of the earthquakes near Irving. Quake watch says for Irving:

  • M2.2 at 9:16 AM 1/23/15 Event Page
  • M2.5 at 2:50 PM 1/20/15 Event Page
  • M2.3 at 2:43 PM 1/20/15 Event Page
  • M3.0 at 2:25 PM 1/20/15 Event Page
  • M2.6 at 1:37 PM 1/20/15 Event Page
  • M2.4 at 8:04 AM 1/20/15 Event Page
  • M2.0 at 8:00 PM 1/17/15 Event Page
  • M2.0 at 1:02 PM 1/14/15
  • M2.3 at 1:1:02 PM 11.14.15 Event Page
  • M2.5 at 7:07 PM 1/11/15 Event Page
  • M2.6 at 11:39 AM 1/9/15 Event Page
  • M1.9 at 7:24 AM 1/8/15
  • M1.9 at 4:09 AM 1/8/15
  • M2.7 at 12:44 PM 1/8/15 (Midlothian) Event Page
  • M2.3 at 1:24 PM 1/7/15 Event Page
  • M2.7 at 9:57 AM 1/7/15 Event Page
  • M2.6 at 8:34 AM 1/7/15 Event Page
  • M3.1 at 12:59 AM1/7/15
  • M1.6 at 11:02 PM Yesterday, 1/6/15
  • M2.4 at 10:05 PM Yesterday
  • M1.7 at 9:54 PM Yesterday
  • M2.7 at 8:12 PM Yesterday
  • M3.6 at 6:52 PM Yesterday
  • M3.5 at 3:10 PM Yesterday
  • M2.3 at 7:37 AM Yesterday

And in Snyder:

  • M3.2 at 12:31PM Yesterday
  • M3.5 at 3:55 PM Yesterday
  • M2.8 at 4:00 PM Yesterday

Remember this: Science has not established a maximum distance over which injection can induce earthquakes.

Update 5: Recent news reports that I want to keep up with.

Here Are 9 Studies Linking Quakes and Drilling Activity in Texas

The number of recorded earthquakes (most larger than 3.0) has increased tenfold since a drilling boom began several years ago. The Lone Star State is now one of the shakiest in the country, coming in sixth in the continuous U.S. for having larger quakes last year, according to EnergyWire.

National Geographic? Are Oil and Gas Industries Behind the Rare Texas Earthquakes?

Earthquakes in the area had been virtually unknown until relatively recently. “If we go back prior to October of 2008, the historical record indicates there might have been one earthquake in 1950, but that was about it,” says Stump.

Fracking Lawsuit Looks a Tad Weaker Now that We’re Having Earthquakes Every 45 Minutes

The Dallas–Fort Worth Earthquake Sequence: October 2008 through May 2009

Earthquake caused Dallas Water Main Break.

NEW REPORT: Fracking directly caused 193 earthquakes. Report download

Interesting theory about what’s happening with the Balcones Fault.

Also see Fracking and Texas Earthquakes and Dear Irving…

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2 more Texas earthquakes Fri, 02 Jan 2015 10:56:15 +0000

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A second New Year’s earthquake happened in West Texas in the Snyder area. M2.8 Event Page

And another earthquake in the Irving area.  M2.4 Event Page

As always, check your foundations and continually document the condition of the structure of your home.


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