It is southwest of the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.
Fracking involves pumping high pressured fluids into rock formations to release reserves of oil and gas. Estimates for gas deposits in the main Karoo region of South Africa range widely. A few studies have been done for government on the potential for shale gas in the country.
These include a report on the technical readiness for a shale gas industrya strategic environmental assessment on shale gas and a multi-authored academic book on hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo.
Government must now integrate this information into policy and develop regulations for the fracking industry. Environmental groups and landowners are concerned about the negative environmental and the social impact of fracking. They say that it could have an impact on water quality and quantity, and could also cause habitat fragmentation and loss.
They are also worried about possible increased seismicity associated with deep well waste water injection and fracking operations. Our research set out to look at the link between earthquakes and fracking.
It formed part of the vulnerability mapping for fracking in South Africa. Seismic hazards in South Africa are not high by international norms. But there could be significant damage to infrastructure if seismicity increases.
Fracking and earthquakes During fracking a mixture of water, sand and chemicals — known as fracking fluid — is pumped under high pressure into a well to fracture rock and release hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are extracted at the wellhead together with wastewater that contains a mixture of fracking fluid and formation water.
The wastewater can be disposed of by injecting it underground through deep wells. Both extraction and underground injection of fluids have been shown to cause earthquakes.
But the size of these events are unclear; ranging from relatively small earthquakes such as the magnitude 2.
There have been at least two seismic events of concern with magnitudes equal or larger than 7. Although they could not be linked directly to fracking, they showed some features associated with fracking-induced earthquakes.
The connection between waste water pumping and seismicity is unquestionable. Scientists believethat three factors are responsible for fracking induced or triggered seismic events: The first seismic records were started inbut these contain significant data gaps.
What we do know is that large seismic events — or earthquakes — are rare in South Africa. The country has experienced several large mining-related earthquakes in the past.
One occurred in Stilfontein on 9 March ; another near Orkney on 5 August Both earthquakes, with magnitudes 5. On September 29 an earthquake measuring 6.
Seismic hazard in South Africa The effect of fracking on the local seismic region can be measured by analysing the seismicity before, during, and after the fracking process. But there is little knowledge on geological information for the Karoo region where fracking has been proposed.
Figure one shows the distribution of seismic hazard in South Africa.The New Madrid Seismic Zone (/ ˈ m æ d r ɪ d /), sometimes called the New Madrid Fault Line, is a major seismic zone and a prolific source of intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) in the southern and midwestern United States, stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri..
The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the –12 New Madrid earthquakes and.
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