WAMU 88.5 : News

New Oil Drilling Method Could Cause More Earthquakes

Play associated audio

Martin Chapman, the head of Virginia Tech’s Seismological Observatory says the cause of last month’s earthquake in Mineral was a lot of stress centered in an area with several favorable faults.

"It turns out the earthquake was on a kind of a north, northeast trending reverse fault," says Chapman.

Chapman says seismologists have long predicted an earthquake would occur there; they just didn’t expect it to be as large as a 5.8. Since 2004, oil companies have been using the latest practice of hydraulic fracturing, injecting a high pressure water, sand, and chemical solution horizontally into the earth’s crust to split apart rock and release oil and gas deposits.

“In some cases you can trigger larger earthquakes on pre-existing faults that are already near the critical stress level," he says.

Chapman says as hydrofracking becomes more common, especially in the Appalachian region, there may be an increase in the number of earthquakes in Virginia and surrounding areas.

NPR

Jack Davis, Cartoonist Who Helped Found 'Mad' Magazine, Dies

Money from a job illustrating a Coca-Cola training manual became a springboard for Jack Davis to move from Georgia to New York.
NPR

Cookie Dough Blues: How E. Coli Is Sneaking Into Our Forbidden Snack

Most people know not to eat raw cookie dough. But now it's serious: 46 people have now been sickened with E. coli-tainted flour. Here's how contamination might be occurring.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour – LIVE from Slim's Diner!

This special edition of the Politics Hour is coming to you live from Slim's Diner from Petworth in Northwest D.C.

NPR

Writing Data Onto Single Atoms, Scientists Store The Longest Text Yet

With atomic memory technology, little patterns of atoms can be arranged to represent English characters, fitting the content of more than a billion books onto the surface of a stamp.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.