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3 million Americans at risk from human-induced earthquakes this year

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human made earthquakesThree million Americans, primarily in Oklahoma and Kansas, are at risk from human-induced earthquakes this year, the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday.

That's the conclusion of a new report that cites wastewater disposal from fracking as triggering the quakes. The number of Americans affected this year is less than last year, when the agency reported 7 million were at risk.

The drop is the result of fewer earthquakes occurring in 2016 than in 2015, the USGS said. Wastewater injection may have decreased in 2016 as a result of new regulations for its disposal, or slowed due to lower oil prices and less overall production.

“The good news is that the overall seismic hazard for this year is lower than in the 2016 forecast, but despite this decrease, there is still a significant likelihood for damaging ground shaking in the U.S. in the year ahead,” said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project.

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