Weatherford Democrat

Front Page

January 19, 2014

Scientific shakedown on quakes

Decades-old evidence cites injection process as a trigger for earthquakes, but can’t yet be linked to area’s recent tremors

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Scientists have known for some 50 years that injection can lead to seismic activity, according to one researcher studying the Azle earthquakes.

However, it’s not always an easy thing to determine whether a particular injection well is or isn’t causing earthquakes and USGS researcher William Ellsworth, a geophysicist working with a research team from SMU and other colleagues to study the dozens of recent small earthquakes near Azle, isn’t making any promises.

“The scientific evidence has really been very conclusive since the 1960s about how injection can induce earthquakes,” Ellsworth said. “It doesn’t prove that any particular well is responsible but the mechanism is well understood. And often what we lack is enough information to really tie pieces together to associate activity with a particular well or to rule out an association.”

Researchers aren’t sure when they may have more information to present to the community regarding the Azle earthquakes.

“It all depends on what data may tell us and interpretations of these kind of results often contain some ambiguity so we can’t promise something that we can’t deliver,” Ellsworth said.

Injection wells are used to inject into the ground, through layers of rock and shale, waste fluids used in oil and gas drilling operations. There are reportedly several injection wells in the area near Reno that officials have cited as the epicenter of the recent Azle-area quakes.

Ellsworth couldn’t say whether the seismic activity in the area might have been triggered by human activity.

“Very generally, we do know that there are tectonic earthquakes, natural earthquakes, that occur in Texas so I don’t think that anyone has jumped to the conclusion that these are induced at this point,” Ellsworth said.

However, he did note that after scientific studies of earthquakes in the Barnett Shale, Prof. Cliff Frohlich, the senior research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas in Austin, found many of the recent earthquakes are associated with injection.

Text Only
Front Page
  • Cole Pritchard.jpg Becoming tech savvy

    Monday afternoon, Weatherford Public Library was home to local teens with a “techie” appetite. As a part of the library’s Young Adult Summer Reading Club, the library hosted a Teen Tech Challenge was hosted to inspire teens with desires of becoming animators and designers. Beyond just technology as a draw, those with a creative mind or a passion for storytelling were also invited.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0722 one puppy bag bikers.jpg A case for comfort

    Weatherford’s VFW Post 4746 R.D. Nelson Memorial and Guardians of the Children motorcycle club gave Hope for Tomorrow employee Heather Dezomits a helping hand Saturday when she introduced Operation Sweet Cases, a program designed to give foster kids a place to store their belongings as they travel from placement to placement.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Purple Heart recipients wanted

    Parker County Judge and Commissioners Court are encouraging all local Purple Heart recipients to attend commissioners court on Monday, July 28, at 10 a.m., as the court designates Parker County a “Purple Heart County.”

    July 21, 2014

  • 0720 one swim rescue 2.jpg Safety first

    As has become a yearly routine, Cherry Park lifeguards and first responders teamed up Friday to conduct a safety drill in response to a simulated drowning.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • WISD board preps for bond survey

    In preparation for a bond election, the Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees Thursday approved contracting with a firm to conduct a survey of Weatherford ISD voters. 

    July 19, 2014

  • 0720 one dog park.jpg Open for doggy business

    Tag Hooks, 6, stands in front of Weatherford’s newest park facility, a dog park named after his grandmother, Patsy Hooks, who died in December.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0718 one weather forecast.jpg Wet weather

    Residents in Parker County experienced quite a bit of rain early Thursday morning.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • A need for funds

    Parker County Judge Mark Riley last week urged East Parker County business leaders to support a constitutional amendment that would provide more money for transportation projects in Texas. 

    July 17, 2014

  • Willow Park tackles 11-street project

    The Willow Park City Council last week picked a list of 11 streets they’d like repaired as part of the city’s next road repair project, a significant portion of the 17-road, $850,000 list of needed repairs. 

    July 16, 2014

  • ESD No. 1, Annetta South working on fire station site

    Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1 and Annetta South officials said Tuesday that the ESD is homing in on a site for a new fire station to serve residents in the Annettas and surrounding areas. 

    July 16, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks