Greenhouse Gas Injections May Cause Earthquakes, Study Reveals

By @snksounak on


A temple destroyed by an earthquake is seen in Namie town, inside the exclusion zone of a 20-km (12-mile) radius around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima

According to the reports of geophysicists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Nov 4, pumping carbon dioxide into the Earth may be used for ditching the greenhouse gas, Science News reports.

Petroleum companies are already in the habit of injecting carbon dioxide for flushing underground oil out. Researchers, on the other hand, discovered that such injections into an oil field situated in the north-western part of Texas caused dozens of small earthquakes during 2006 to 2011.

Cliff Frohlich, the co-author of the study, is from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr Frohlich said that it was inconceivable that such injection well had not been contributing to the earthquakes. The study happens to be the first of its kind to come up with such evidence which shows that gas injections have the ability to lead to earthquakes.

Even though the study gives enough suggestion that the underground injections triggered the Snyder earthquakes; it also shows that similar injections did not, however, trigger such earthquakes in other fields. The study reinforces that the gas injections do not cause major seismic events in most of the geologic settings.

The study concentrated on three large gas and oil fields in the north-western part of Texas: the Scurry Area Canyon Reef Operators Committee unit, the Salt Creek field and the Cogdell field. These fields have produced petroleum for more than 60 years now.

Operators started injecting carbon dioxide in the SACROC field back in 1971 to boost petroleum production. The process is known as CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery or CO2 EOR. The process of CO2 EOR started in the Cogdell field a decade ago in 2001. There was a major increase in the amount of injections since 2004. The Department of Energy has initiated research in these areas as carbon dioxide is injected in large volumes for many a year there. The idea was to understand potential impacts of carbon capture and storage called CCS/

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