Oil wastewater makes earthquakes stronger

When oil companies dispose of wastewater deep underground, earthquakes get more common and more dangerous...
07 November 2019
Presented by Matthew Hall
Production by Matthew Hall.


A field of oil pumpjacks.


Oil production has multiple environmentally-devastating consequences - including creating of billions of gallons of salty, chemical-filled wastewater. Typically, companies dispose of this wastewater by pumping it deep underground. But a growing body of evidence shows that this pumping causes 'injection-induced earthquakes', most notably the Jones earthquake swarm: thousands of earthquakes that have occurred in Oklahoma over the last ten years. And a new study demonstrates that the fluid properties of wastewater make earthquakes stronger and more common where disposal is concentrated. Matthew Hall spoke to two of the study's authors, Ryan Pollyea and Martin Chapman...


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