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Earthquakes in southern Kansas linked to hydraulic fracturing for oil, gas

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Kansas earthquakes linked to fracking Seismographs have documented a significant increase in earthquakes in southern Kansas over the last five years, and the latest research suggests the oil and gas industry's hydraulic fracturing activity is to blame.

Prior to 2012, no documented magnitude 4 or greater earthquake had shaken southern Kansas. Between 2012 and 2016, as oil and gas activity increased, seismographs registered six such earthquakes.

To better understand the link between seismic activity and hydraulic fracturing, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed 6,845 earthquakes that shook Harper and Sumner counties, home to the newest wave of oil and gas exploration.

Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of high-pressure fluids deep into rock, most commonly shale, in order to trigger the release of oil and gas trapped between the rock layers. Often, wastewater leftover from the activity is treated and then injected back into the ground.


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