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

Musicians 'Let It All Out' At MTV's Video Music Awards

Complex magazine writer Alex Gale talks about the more than 30-year history and previews what to expect for Sunday night's Video Music Awards on MTV.
NPR

Japan's Centuries-Old Tradition Of Making Soba Noodles

In the remote mountains of the Japanese island of Shikoku, an old woman makes soba noodles by hand from locally grown buckwheat. It's ancient technique that is adapting to modern times.
WAMU 88.5

D.C. Department Shakeup Raises Questions About Pay-To-Play Politics

Turnover at a major D.C. government department is raising questions about local businesses, political contributions and influence in city politics.

NPR

A Hero For The Arts And Sciences: Upcoming Marvel Covers Promote STEAM Fields

The five covers feature the company's heroes — including Spiderman, Iron Man, and the Hulk — all engaging in activities educators have been trying to promote.

Leave a Comment

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