3 Dozen Quakes Shake Arkansas —in Week
Experts can't rule out fracking connection
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2013 2:58 AM CDT
Updated May 27, 2013 5:00 AM CDT
The use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has sparked an energy boom in multiple areas across the US.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

(Newser) – Fracking is in the spotlight once again following a swarm of at least three dozen earthquakes in central Arkansas over the last week, CNN reports. Experts say they believe the quakes—the strongest of which was 3.5 magnitude—are natural, but they haven't ruled out a connection with natural gas exploration involving hydraulic fracturing in the region. Though two dozen of the quakes have hit near Morrilton, Arkansas, four different areas in the state saw activity.

"Right now all we've gotten reports of is shaking stuff and rattling shelves, but people are definitely noticing them," an Arkansas Geological Survey scientist says, describing the chances of so many quakes in the state in such a short time as "Powerball kind of odds," but noting that the closest injection wells to some of the quakes are eight miles away. "I can't say at this time there's not a connection, but given the distance from those wells, it would be pretty amazing." Another swarm of mild earthquakes in the next county over ended abruptly two years ago after a moratorium on new injection wells was imposed.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
May 28, 2013 11:11 AM CDT
The first quake was natural, the preceding 35 were caused by people jumping to conclusions.
May 27, 2013 5:46 PM CDT
There won't be anyone there once the frackers use up all the ground water anyway.
May 27, 2013 1:01 PM CDT
Who was fracking aeounsd San Francisco in 1906 or at New Madrid around the Missouri "bootheel" 1811-1814 where strong earthquakes caused serious destruction?