Did ‘Fracking’ Cause This Week’s Earthquake in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin and Bernard Parks, want city, state and federal groups to investigate whether hydraulic fracturing played any role in the earthquake that rattled the city (and a couple news anchors) early Monday morning.

There has been much controversy surrounding hydraulic fracturing. This is a process, also known as “fracking,” where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock and release the oil and natural gas located beneath the Earth’s crust. Some scientists have been worried that the chemicals used in fracturing may pose a threat either underground or when waste fluids are handled and sometimes spilled on the surface.

While California is known to have earthquakes, concerns were raised regarding the Los Angeles quake because this event struck in Encino on the northern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains — an area that has not seen much seismological activity.

According to Los Angeles Times, the motion asks for city departments “to team up with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to report back on the likelihood that such activities contributed to the 4.4-magnitude quake.”

That said, this is not the first time the City Council has been concerned with hydraulic fracturing. The group already voted earlier this year to draft rules that would bar fracking, acidizing and other kinds of well stimulation in Los Angeles until council members felt sure that city drinking water was safe from their effects. The risk of triggering earthquakes was also among the dangers cited by Bonin and Koretz, as quoted by the Times.

“All high-pressure fracking and injection creates ‘seismic events,’” the motion states. It added, “Active oil extraction activities are reportedly taking place on the Veteran’s Administration grounds in West Los Angeles, nearby the epicenter” of the Monday quake.

“It is crucial to the health and safety of the City’s residents to understand the seismic impacts of oil and gas extraction activities in the City,” the motion said.

Los Angeles isn’t the only city concerned with the possible connection between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes. Earthquakes in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Ohio have caused similar concerns. Check out the report below from CBS in Dallas-Fort Worth for how other states are handling the situation.

Fracking Earthquakes

Do you think fracking can play a role with earthquakes? Let us know in the comments below.