Oil and Gas Production Reactivated Dormant Faults Near Dallas, Says New SMU Earthquake Study

Since earthquakes started shaking Dallas and Irving in 2014, folk theories have pinned the blame on everything from construction, to drought, to the implosion of nearby Texas Stadium. Scientists have linked the tremors to wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing, but the evidence has not been as solid as with other recent tremors.Unlike North Texas' four other quake sequences going back to 2008, the Irving quakes struck much farther away from wastewater wells. That led some experts, including those at a subsidiary of Irving-based ExxonMobil, to suggest they were in fact natural.Perhaps the faults had snapped back to life after a long period of inactivity. Or maybe they had been active all along, tossing off tiny quakes that no one felt until humans settled the area in large numbers.A new study leaves little doubt that these earthquakes, the only ones in Texas that stirred a major metropolitan area, were triggered by industry and not by nature."It's the most likely explanation," said Beatrice Magnani, a seismologist at Southern Methodist University and lead author of the paper published recently in the journal Science Advances.  Continue reading...

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