The earthquake witnessed by a small town called Youngstown in Ohio was caused by a drilling process known as "fracking," according to a report. The town had not recorded an earthquake since 1776. The town witnessed an earthquake in 2011.
Fracking or hydraulic fracking is a process where highly pressurised fluids are entered into rock formations for drilling purposes. The technique is used mostly for gas exploration.
Youngstown, which according to the report from Live Science never witnessed an earthquake, is located on the Marcellus Shale. Shale is a form of soft sedimentary rock which is formed by the consolidation of mud or clay.
The Marcellus Shale has a large amount of natural gas trapped beneath it. This has raised the interest of companies to exploit the highly valuable natural resource. There have been ongoing fracking projects in neighbouring Pennsylvania.
According to the report, the waste water from the project was pumped into deep underground storage. This was done by the Northstar 1 injection starting from December 2010.
Almost exactly one year later, the town in Ohio witnessed its first recorded earthquake on 31 Dec 2011. The earthquake measured 3.9 on the Richter scale. Media reports at the time had called the earthquake "Man made" and linked it to the fracking process.
Since the 2011 event Ohio is reported to have witnessed more than 108 earthquakes. This has resulted in public outcry and protests against the practice of fracking.
Citizens in both the U.S and the U.K have held demonstrations and rallies against fracking. There are many groups like the "Artists Against Fracking" who aim to bring sustainable, renewable energy into focus.
Media reports from the U.K show the concerned citizens to be particularly scathing in their attacks. Citizens have reportedly held banners reading "Frack off" and "shame on you" to discourage the fracking practice.
The practice does, however, come with considerable economic gains. The renewable energy has not been able to compete on the cost factor. Governments also earn a substantial amount of revenues as tax from the extraction of non renewable resource.
The Prime Minister of the U.K, David Cameron, backed the fracking technology in an article written in The Telegraph. He argues that the technology could reduce the energy bills, it could create more jobs in the U.K and the neighbourhoods where the technology is used could share in the revenues of the drilling company.
There was no mention of the possible earthquakes in the article. The fracking technology still remains a dividing subject.
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