​Bedrock stress factor in fracking caused earthquakes: study

Image: Joey Podluby/JWN

New research is digging in to why fracking causes earthquakes in some areas but not in others.

Natural Resources Canada seismologist Honn Kao says in a paper that it has a lot to do with how much stress already exists in the bedrock when energy companies start injecting fluids to release oil and gas.

His research found that almost all the induced earthquakes that have happened in Alberta and British Columbia occurred in a band along the Rocky Mountains.

That area has much more underground tension than areas in Saskatchewan, where extensive fracking also takes place.

Kao says the conclusions have implications for how fracking is regulated in different parts of the country.

He adds that, theoretically, a bunch of small fracking-induced temblors could save a region from experiencing one big natural earthquake.

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