Weatherford Democrat

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January 2, 2014

2013 in Review

A look back at 2013 through the year’s top stories as compiled by the WD staff

NUMBER ONE – Earthquakes shake up Parker County

An epidemic of low-magnitude earthquakes — mainly in northeast Parker County, raise questions about a link to the injection wells used by gas drillers to dispose of fracking waste. Scientists report the fluids — pumped into the wells under pressure — might release the natural stress built up on fault lines, triggering the quakes.

Citizens’ response to the ground shakers — which now number two dozen in the county and some 30 across the region including Tarrant and Palo Pinto counties — sent Parker County commissioners and others to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, for answers.

A town hall meeting about the area ground shakers is set for 5 p.m. Thursday at Azle High School.

Industry experts are mixed on whether fracking, a process used to extract natural gas from the area’s layer of shale, or the subsequent injection of fluids and chemicals used in the fracking process back into the ground could be the cause for the area’s relatively mild earthquakes, most of them registering below 3.0 magnitude with several above that, as high as 3.6 magnitude. No injuries or significant property damage have been reported as a result of the series of quakes, which began in early November.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Southern Methodist University recently placed monitors in areas of northeast Parker County and have identified an area between Reno and Reno as the epicenter for the more recent earthquakes recorded, saying they are generally occurring at a considerably shallow depth of about 2-4 miles below ground level.

NUMBER TWO – Bearcats roll to another state football title

One word – domination.

That describes the Aledo Bearcats’ 2013 undefeated, record-setting football season that culminated with a Class 4A, Division II state championship on Dec. 22 at AT&T Stadium in a 38-10 win over the Brenham Cubs.

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