Western Colorado Rocked By Multiple Earthquakes
The western slope has experienced 6 quakes in a 10-day stretch.
Granted, they've all been minor with most measuring 4.1 or below on the Richter Scale. Western Colorado experience 6 earthquakes in less than 2 weeks are concerning. The United States Geological Survey officials believe the cause of the quakes is the effects of injection site activity. What's that exactly? According to the EPA, an "Injection Well" is "...is used to place fluid underground into porous geologic formations. These underground formations may range from deep sandstone or limestone to a shallow soil layer. Injected fluids may include water, wastewater, brine (salt water), or water mixed with chemicals." USGS officials have yet to determine the actual cause of the earthquakes.
Sunday afternoon an earthquake measuring 3.0 on the Richter Scale struck in an area about 10-miles east of Paonia. It was the sixth earthquake to hit the western slope in less than 10-days. Last Wednesday morning, folks in Moffat County reported feeling the earth move. Indeed a couple quakes, one measuring at 3.2 and a second smaller 2.7 magnitude quake shook the area both within a couple hours.
Other recent quakes occurred in Rio Blanco County on August 24th and 25th. One of the 3 was a bit stronger registering at 4.1 on the Richter Scale. 2 other quakes were reported in northern New Mexico on the August 24th. The strongest fo those measured a 3.6.
So far, no injuries or damage have been reported by the quakes. The question is, is this a direct result of injection site drilling or "fracking" or is there something else at work here? It's the only way to break the rock and get the natural gas, and at times oil, out of the ground. It's a fact that directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been huge game-changers for the energy industry. The US is now nearly self-sufficient and for the first time in years, exporting oil and natural gas. Is increased seismic activity an ok trade-off?
Credit: KOAA 5News