The seismic activity in Azle and Reno, northwest of Fort Worth,
has national implications, with opponents of hydraulic fracturing,
or fracking, saying what is happening in the towns points to the
dangers of the energy source extraction method.
"It's important that we don't rush to conclusions," Heather DeShon,
associate professor of geophysics at Southern Methodist University
and leader of the research team, told a news conference in Dallas on
DeShon said the start of the earthquake series has coincided with
start of injection wells used for fracking in the area. The study is
expected to take six months to a year.
Fracking, which involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals
under high pressure into bedrock to increase the flow of oil or gas,
has been the culprit in some small earthquakes around the country.
It is not suspected as the cause of the bigger and more frequent
quakes that have occurred recently, according to the Interior
Experts say billions of dollars are at stake, as potential new
regulations could affect the oil and gas industry's profits and as
lawsuits by property owners with earthquake-related claims make
their way through the legal system.
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In January, SMU seismologists installed a network of 12 seismic
stations in and around the two towns, where at least two injection
wells for fracking are in operation.
Texas has seen a new energy boom due to fracking, which has also
helped reduce U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources.
(Reporting by Jana Pruet; writing by Jon Herskovitz;
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