A RASH of recent earthquakes has forced fracking operations in the UK to be halted several times.
All are linked to fracking for gas at a site in Lancashire, pictured below. Regulations say work must be paused when fracking causes quakes of magnitude 0.5 or greater. Since 22 October, several quakes have been large enough to require this, the largest measuring 1.1. The extraction firm Cuadrilla also voluntarily paused fracking after some smaller quakes.
Experts say it is normal for fracking to cause such “microquakes”, and that many quakes of this magnitude already occur naturally in the UK every year, although they are too small to be felt by people on the surface. But there is a danger such quakes could break the seal on the fracking site borehole, allowing methane to leak out and add to global warming, says geologist Stuart Haszeldine at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
Cuadrilla said checks showed that the well had not been compromised following the magnitude-1.1 quake.
This article appeared in print under the headline “Fracking quakes pause operations”
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