Frac or Fiction: Does frac’ing cause Earthquakes?


This theory is a little too shaky.

Hydraulic fracturing has been occurring in the United States since the 1940’s. It is estimated that over 1.5 million wells have been completed using hydraulic fracturing since then.

Recent studies have shown that there is no connection between earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing. Minor seismic activity is common across the county and occurs every day. All seismic activity said to be linked to frac’ing is extremely minor.


In fact, nearly all of these “earthquakes” are so minor that only geologists are able to identify them.

“By comparison, most fracing-related events release a negligible amount of energy roughly equivalent to or even less than someone jumping off a ladder onto the floor.” Professor Richard Davies, Durham Energy Institute

Based on the results from Durham University, which studied well over a hundred thousand frac’ing processes, it is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to feel an earthquake cause by frac’ing.

To make certain that there is less of a chance of this seismic activity, the pressure in wells is monitored.

In short increments of only 2 hours, the mostly water and sand mixture that creates frac fluid is pumped down the wellbore under extremely high pressure.

Teams monitor these wells throughout the entire frac’ing process to ensure that the pressure stays within a safe range.  And now, new technology allows for 3D monitoring, which shows real-time distance that the fracture travels.

…Time to shake off another rumor.


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Sarah was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania- a small town in central PA. She is currently attending Pennsylvania State University majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. She is presently working as an Intern in External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. Sarah’s responsibilities include writing for Cabot’s social media, scheduling content and event planning.

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