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Seismic event halts British fracking

LONDON, June 3 (UPI) -- A British company exploring unconventional energy sources said it halted hydraulic fracturing in a shale play because of a small seismic event.

Cuadrilla Resources announced that it immediately and voluntarily halted shale gas extraction at a site in northwest England because of small tremors reported in the area near its operations.

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"We take our responsibilities very seriously and that is why we have stopped fracking operations to share information and consult with the relevant authorities and other experts," the company said in a statement.

The company didn't indicate whether hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was the cause of the tremors.

The process works by injecting water laced with abrasives deep underground to break up rock formations and release trapped natural gas. Shale gas deposits are heralded as an emerging source of energy, especially in the United States and Poland.

Environmental groups worry the chemicals used in the process could create health problems if they get into water aquifers.

Energy companies and some U.S. regulators note the practice has been in place for decades without incident.

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