Recent Quakes: What The Frack Is Going On?

In the last month there have been three earthquake along the Newport-Inglewood fault that runs from Newport Beach to the Baldwin Hills and Beverly Hills area.

It's an active fault that runs under a massive oil drilling area known as the Inglewood Oil Field. It's been around decades and been the source of an enormous amount of oil, but there are neighbors that think that drilling for oil and using techniques like fracking is making matters worse when it comes to earthquakes.

Steve Murray is with Baldwin Hills Oil Watch. He thinks fracking and oil production techniques contributed to the quakes of the last few weeks. They were moderate. Not damaging. But, to Murray and Steve Gless with Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community adding to the pressure under the ground has to have an impact. Gless says, "That's because you're putting pressures in a fault that shouldn't be put there."

To Murray, "I think what that fracking process allows is to pull out the oil and water at faster rates than were previously and that pulling out oil and water in mass.. above the fault lines causes stresses on the faults and that causes earthquakes and that causes earthquakes to move."

Seismologist Jennifer Andrews says, "There can be some kind of pressure connection between where you're injecting and faults further a field that might have an impact, but in this case we have no evidence at this point that it's related."

She adds, "We at Cal Tech don't know anything about the oil field operation so we can't say definitively this wasn't related, but given that these magnitude 3 to 4 events were 7.5 and 9 miles deep, which is much deeper than the oil fields, it's unlikely that there is a relationship."

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