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Fracking in Ohio caused a magnitude 3 earthquake in 2014

The area never experienced earthquakes before.

By Thor Benson
Fracking in Ohio caused a magnitude 3 earthquake in 2014
A drilling rig operates on farmland near a storage tank at the Niobrara oil shale formation in Weld County, North eastern Colorado on May 30, 2012. Gas and oil companies are using large amounts of water to obtain shale oil and gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

POLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- According to a new study, a small town in Ohio that previously didn't experience earthquakes experienced 77 in March of 2014.

Poland Township, Ohio has been the subject of heavy hydraulic fracturing, "fracking," in an attempt to capture its natural gas resources. The 2010 census found the town had 14,960 people. Fracking involves shooting hydraulically pressurized liquid into deep underground rocks to let natural gas flow freely, and it appears the fracking in Ohio was hitting a fault and causing earthquakes.

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Most of the recorded earthquakes were not felt by the town's residents, but one magnitude 3 earthquake was felt. The study observes that earthquakes stopped occurring when fracking was halted.

Similar events were noted in Ohio in 2011, when 109 earthquakes were recorded over the course of a year after fracking began. Youngstown also hadn't experienced earthquakes before fracking began. The strongest earthquake recorded in the town was a magnitude 3.9.

The new study is published in Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

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