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Gas 'fracking' not cause of Va. earthquake

Sept. 6, 2011 at 3:16 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- There is no connection between expanded "hydraulic fracturing" gas drilling in the Mid-Atlantic States and the Aug. 23 Virginia earthquake, scientists say

There is no evidence linking "fracking" of shale layers with strong, widespread earthquakes, they said.

"You've only got a very small volume of rock that you're taking out of there (with fracturing)," Anthony Crone, a research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told the Pittsburgh Tribune.

"The only conceivable thing that could happen is that hole could close up, so it would only have a very narrow sphere of influence."

Virginia officials said they're satisfied drilling did not cause last month's quake as no wells being drilled for natural gas extraction exist within 150 miles of the quake's epicenter.

"There's just no way any kind of drilling or hydrofracturing in those wells could be physically transmitted through the Earth over such a great distance," David B. Spears, Virginia's state geologist, said.

"It's just physically impossible," he said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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