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
  • Aledo City Council Place 2 Candidates.jpg Q&A: Aledo City Council Place 2 candidates

    With some contested races in area school board and city council races on the May 10 ballots, the WD will provide a closer look at some of those through a question-and-answer feature with the candidates. Early voting begins April 28. Today we look at the candidates running for Place 2 on Aledo City Council.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • USAF photo.jpg Heroes riding for heroes

    The 12th annual Ride for Heroes bike ride this Saturday in Aledo will include some VIPs: members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Little league makes pitch to city for lower user fees

    Weatherford Little League officials have asked the city to lower user fees to the league.

    April 17, 2014

  • 0418 one oregel, oscar.jpeg Trunk full of cash leads to trip to jail

    After a traffic stop late Monday night in Parker County, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized more than $54,000 from a man who, DPS says, admitted to trafficking in narcotics for people he met in Mexico.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • cigarette butts.jpg No butts about it, smoking ban nears

    Weatherford eating establishments have just over a week to get their no smoking signs in place and prepare for the no smoking ordinance enacted by the city council in February to go into effect.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Proposed change in city charter goes before W’ford voters next month

    Weatherford residents will have the chance to vote on a pair of charter amendments on Election Day May 10.

    April 16, 2014

  • IMG_7134.JPG Despite cold, peach crops looking rosy

    Parker County peach growers won’t know for sure for a few more days, but as of Wednesday, one day after April temperatures plummeted into the low 30s, they’re predicting a good, even rosy, peach harvest for this year’s Parker County Peach Festival.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Animal shelter throwing a party

    The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter made a promise to its staff, volunteers and rescues that if the shelter was able to achieve a 90 percent live release rate by the end of March, the shelter would throw a community-wide party to celebrate its accomplishments.

    April 16, 2014

  • Veterans Memorial Rendering.jpg Cabin fever

    Weatherford Parks and Recreation officials are looking to renovate two areas to make them more user friendly.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Parker County man killed in single-vehicle wreck

    A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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