Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may be the culprit for the increase in earthquakes in certain parts of the U.S., according to agroup of researchers.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey studied earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 or more in a large area of the mid-continental U.S. since 1970, according to Law360 (subscription required). In 2001, they found a slight increase in the number of earthquakes along the border of Colorado and New Mexico in a coal bed methane field.
The study authors also note that the number of earthquakes that were magnitude-3 or greater earthquakes in the area last year increased six-fold compared to the levels in the 1900s.
Earlier this year, officials in Ohio suspended fracking operations in five deep wells due to fears that the activity was linked to about a dozen earthquakes in the town of Youngstown, Ohio.