After an investigation lasting three months, it has been confirmed that a new world record was set for the largest and most intense earthquake ever to happen triggered by “fracking.” The August 2015 magnitude 4.6 earthquake hit near the Progress Energy facility in British Columbia.
After the “manmade” disaster, Progress Energy temporarily halted its hydraulic fracturing operations – otherwise known as fracking. The thorough investigation conducted by British Columbia’s energy commission confirmed the belief that the company caused the quake.
Following the earthquake, seismologists and scientists with Natural Resources Canada and Geoscience BC joined forces with the Oil and Gas Commission to examine and analyze all of the relevant data. Scientists noted that the epicenter of the earthquake was just about two miles from Progress Energy’s fracking operations site.
Fracking is the process that energy companies use to extract natural gas from rock deep underground. According to Progress Energy’s website, the seismic activity that may happen as a result of the operations occur deep below the earth’s surface, and is very rarely felt above ground and does not pose any risk to the environment or to the public’s safety.
But according to the local media, many residents felt the quake, which was described by seismologists as “significant.”
Officials first believed that the earthquake measured magnitude 4.4, but after reviewing the latest data analysis, determined it was 4.6 in magnitude.
This man-made phenomenon is called “induced seismicity.” And according to various studies, fracking has caused earthquakes in Oklahoma, British Columbia and in the U.K.
Alan Clay, spokesman for the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, said the earthquake was “likely induced by hydraulic fracturing.” However, he later said that the commission had yet to fully determine the cause of the quake and is conducting more research. That investigation is now finished.
Between late summer 2013 and the fall of 2014, almost 230 seismic “events” in the Montney area were connected to gas and oil activity. Out of those, eleven were felt at the surface.