DALLAS Feb 7 A team of scientists has launched
a study of seismic activity in North Texas to determine if
fracking may be the cause of a series of earthquakes that have
rattled two towns in the region since November.
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 Friday.
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
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.
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.
(Reporing by Jana Pruet; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by