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ohio earthquakes?

Joined:
2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
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just saw on the news that the youngstown region of ohio experienced some earthquakes yesterday, some think they may be caused by brine injection wells in the area, they shut down the wells until further investigation.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/31/us/ohio-earthquake/index.html

Posted on: 2012/1/1 8:20


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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So I missed another earthquake?! I don't live that far from Youngstown and I didn't feel any of the quakes.

I do think the wells might have contributed to this, I guess we'll see what they come up with.....


Posted on: 2012/1/1 10:19


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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I'd be worried about well integrity issues after a quake. Well casings and cement + quake = bad fishing

Posted on: 2012/1/1 22:16
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Re: ohio earthquakes?

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also equals bad drinking water for residents.

Posted on: 2012/1/2 8:43


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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They occur in that area quite often. I believe the USGS keeps maps and history if your interested in looking it up.

Posted on: 2012/1/2 17:42


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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That's interesting because Youngstown is in Mahoning county (which has its own seismic station) but indicates no past quakes according to the map you suggested we look up.

page 6
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/10/pdf/EL/el09.pdf

Of course dumping caustic fluids miles underground could change all that.

Posted on: 2012/1/2 18:25


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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The gov't should know...they did the same thing years ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_Arsenal

Posted on: 2012/1/2 19:55


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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I didn't look it up on there I just knew they kept a history and being that I have read more than one article about earthquakes occurring there several times this past year I figured there would be a history....my bad.

But here is a recent article about the latest one citing 11 this past year.

http://www.timesonline.com/news/local ... 12-9c73-b408673627cb.html

Posted on: 2012/1/2 21:22


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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11? and if they weren't common in the past, what does that tell you? 11 is a lot.

Posted on: 2012/1/3 0:28


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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FWIW, I fully believe injection wells played a role in this.

However, groups of earthquakes are the norm even if it were natural. You might go 50 years without so much as a wiggle when that fault is locked up tight. Then a fault slips, you get the earthquake, and wherever the fault catches isn't so solid anymore, it slips again. Till finally you relieve all pressure, the fault goes silent again, and solidifies in place for another 100 years....

That's what aftershocks are, really. Getting nothing for 50 years and then 11 in 2 weeks is very much the natural way of things.

It's just that, in this case, I find it likely that the injection well probably triggered that first one.

Posted on: 2012/1/6 12:42


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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A long time ago some mad scientist, a geophysicist I think, proposed injecting water or some other suitable lubricant into major fault zones. The idea was to relieve the stress slowly, in a series of small tremors, and avoid a catastrophic earthquake in the future. Quite a bit of research was done, but in the end it just wasn't practical. Maybe that's what's happening here, by accident of course.

Its not like NE OH & NW PA haven't had earthquakes before. They usually measure several every year. They are generally shallow, 5 miles or less, and weak, 5.0 max. The strongest ones can be felt but do little damage. Changes to aquifers being the most common. My well ran red for a week or so after the 1998 Jamestown, PA earthquake. A 4.5 according to the USGS.

Its theoretically possible that injecting fluids into a fault zone that's under stress could initiate an earthquake, but I'm still a bit skeptical. The current amount of seismic activity near Youngstown is not that unusual from a historical perspective. What's more, the quakes they are having are in several different locations so having a few near an injection well could easily be a coincidence. If all the quakes were associated with injection wells and known faults it would be more convincing, but I don't think that's the case. Regardless, injection wells can not create an earthquake larger then what would happen naturally. They don't create the stress needed for an earthquake, but they could relieve stress that has already built up over time.

Posted on: 2012/1/6 19:17
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Re: ohio earthquakes?
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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
FWIW, I fully believe injection wells played a role in this.

However, groups of earthquakes are the norm even if it were natural. You might go 50 years without so much as a wiggle when that fault is locked up tight. Then a fault slips, you get the earthquake, and wherever the fault catches isn't so solid anymore, it slips again. Till finally you relieve all pressure, the fault goes silent again, and solidifies in place for another 100 years....

That's what aftershocks are, really. Getting nothing for 50 years and then 11 in 2 weeks is very much the natural way of things.

It's just that, in this case, I find it likely that the injection well probably triggered that first one.



I've read the unusual thing about this quake was it's center was less than 2 miles deep (in the injection zone). Smoking gun?

Posted on: 2012/1/7 7:17


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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No. Faults at any depth can slip. Many major quakes have been very shallow. Gon4Day is pretty much spot on. Injection wells can't cause the stress required for a fault to slip. They can lubricate the fault and cause it to happen at a different time than it otherwise would. i.e. they can "trigger" a quake that would have happened anyway, though it may not have happened for another 50 years.

We indeed have quakes. Everyone does. The difference between us and, say, California is twofold. First, they have much larger and more active faults, which move more, and build stress more quickly. Second, they have different rock types, which allow more stress to build before slipping, leading to larger quakes, and the rock also transmits the energy better.

There's plenty of merit in triggering quakes, thus making more numerous small ones and preventing big ones. The problem is that there are simply too many faults, and they aren't all mapped perfectly, you'd have to be quite perfect in the placing of your well. An effort to relieve danger would be a massive, expensive effort with uncertain effectiveness. Plus, even if the triggered quakes are smaller than they may naturally have been, you are still intentionally triggering quakes which can cause damage, and that doesn't go over so well with the public.

But when you make enough wells, you occasionally randomly hit one. Sounds like what happened here.

Posted on: 2012/1/7 10:31


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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Quote:

Gone4Day wrote:
A long time ago some mad scientist, a geophysicist I think, proposed injecting water or some other suitable lubricant into major fault zones. The idea was to relieve the stress slowly, in a series of small tremors, and avoid a catastrophic earthquake in the future. Quite a bit of research was done, but in the end it just wasn't practical. Maybe that's what's happening here, by accident of course.

Its not like NE OH & NW PA haven't had earthquakes before. They usually measure several every year. They are generally shallow, 5 miles or less, and weak, 5.0 max. The strongest ones can be felt but do little damage. Changes to aquifers being the most common. My well ran red for a week or so after the 1998 Jamestown, PA earthquake. A 4.5 according to the USGS.

Its theoretically possible that injecting fluids into a fault zone that's under stress could initiate an earthquake, but I'm still a bit skeptical. The current amount of seismic activity near Youngstown is not that unusual from a historical perspective. What's more, the quakes they are having are in several different locations so having a few near an injection well could easily be a coincidence. If all the quakes were associated with injection wells and known faults it would be more convincing, but I don't think that's the case. Regardless, injection wells can not create an earthquake larger then what would happen naturally. They don't create the stress needed for an earthquake, but they could relieve stress that has already built up over time.



I seem to remember reading in some geology book that someone proposed pumping a lubricant into one of the fault lines in California back in the 20s or 30s. Part of the concern about the idea was that no one could be sure there wasn't enough pressure built up to cause a large quake if it let go.

Posted on: 2012/1/7 16:00


Re: ohio earthquakes?

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Go figure...


Ohio Quakes Probably Caused by Drilling-Fluid Well, Report Says
2012-03-09 15:51:24.261 GMT


By Mark Niquette
March 9 (Bloomberg) -- Earthquakes last year in Ohio were
probably caused by wastewater from oil and natural-gas drilling
injected into a disposal well, and regulations are needed to
address concern about seismic activity, a state report said.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources today proposed
creating rules for fluid transportation and disposal, including
banning drilling into some rock formations and requiring
geological reviews before wells are approved.
The recommendations are a response to 12 quakes centered
within a mile (1.6 kilometers) of an injection well in
Youngstown, Ohio.
“A number of coincidental circumstances appear to make a
compelling argument for the recent Youngstown-area seismic
events to have been induced,” including the timing, location
and depth of the earthquakes in relation to the well, the report
said.
Researchers are also looking into whether temblors in
states, including Arkansas and Texas, were caused by injecting
fluid under pressure. U.S. states are trying to avoid any
environmental impact from hydraulic fracturing while reaping the
economic benefits. So-called fracking involves injecting water,
sand and chemicals underground at high pressure.

Safeguards Demanded

“Ohioans demand smart environmental safeguards that
protect our environment and promote public health,” James
Zehringer, the department director, said in the release. “These
new standards accomplish this goal.”
Exxon Mobil Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp., and Devon
Energy Corp. are among companies drilling in Ohio’s Utica and
Marcellus shale formations. Federal regulators are studying any
links between injections and quakes and the effects of fracking
on drinking water. The value of production in Ohio may add $4.9
billion to the state’s economic output by 2014, a Feb. 28 study
commissioned by the Ohio Shale Coalition concluded.
The evidence suggests that fluid from the Youngstown well
“intersected an unmapped fault in a near-failure state of
stress causing movement along that fault,” the agency said.
There had been no record of earthquakes in modern times
from epicenters located in the Youngstown area before D&L Energy
Inc. began injecting drilling brine, a byproduct of drilling,
about 9,200 feet (2,804 meters) underground in December 2010,
the report said. Starting in March, there have been 12 temblors
around the well ranging from magnitude 2.1 to a 4.0 quake that
hit on New Year’s Eve, according to the report.

Kasich’s Moratorium

That quake prompted Republican Governor John Kasich to
place an indefinite moratorium on the Youngstown well, plus
three other drilled wells and one in the vicinity with a permit
pending, according to the report. The moratorium affecting five
Youngstown-area wells will remain in place, the agency said.
The report recommends 10 changes to the state’s permitting
and monitoring program for Class II deep injection wells,
including limiting the depth of drilling; additional review of
available geological data; installation of a system at wells to
continuously monitor pressure; and an automatic shut-off system
if injection pressures exceed state limits.
The changes will be implemented as part of the permitting
process until they are either enacted into law or approved as
part of state administrative rules, the department said in its
release. The state also will buy four additional portable
seismometers, the report said.

Tracking System

The agency also is requiring the installation of an
electronic system to track fluids brought to Ohio wells for
injection.
There have been more permits for disposal wells in Ohio
during the past two years than in the previous decade combined,
according to records from the department. More than half of the
volume injected last year was from out of state, included more
than 90 percent of the water sent to the Youngstown well,
records show.
State Representative Armond Budish, the House Democratic
leader, has said Ohio has become “the dumping ground for
contaminated brine.” Kasich has said that while he’s not happy
about the rising volume of wastewater from neighboring states,
the U.S. Constitution prohibits interference with shipments.
While drawing a link to the Youngstown quakes, the agency
said it didn’t see a wider threat.
It is “very difficult for all the conditions to be met to
induce seismic events,” the state report said. It cited fewer
than 20 connected with more than 144,000 U.S. injection wells in
operation.
Since Ohio assumed control of regulating disposal wells in
1983 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than
202 million barrels of oilfield fluids have been sent to such
wells in the state with no reports of contamination or other
earthquakes, the report said.

For Related News and Information:
News on U.S. utilities: TNI UTI US
Natural-gas trading hub prices: NGHB
News about fracturing: STNI FRACKING
Map of U.S. shale basins: BMAP 82555

--Editors: Mark Tannenbaum, Mark Schoifet

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Mark Tannenbaum at +1-212-617-1962 or
mtannen@bloomberg.net

Posted on: 2012/3/9 11:19



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