English tremors blamed on fracking

The only company in Britain using hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from shale rock says the controversial technique probably did trigger earth tremors in April and May. Fracturing operations were suspended on May 27 following the detection of a tremor centred just outside Blackpool.

But a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources, which is drilling for gas in the area outside the north-western English coastal resort town of Blackpool, cautioned that the tremors, measuring 1.9 and 2.8 on the Richter scale, were due to an unusual combination of geology and operations and were unlikely to happen again.

The use of fracturing, colloquially known as fracking, has increased dramatically in recent years, particularly in the United States, and residents and environmental activists have raised concerns about the potential impact on water quality. Critics say fracking could poison water supplies, while the natural gas industry says it has been used safely for decades.

Nick Molho, of environmental charity WWF, said that Wednesday’s findings were likely to add to the “very real concerns” people had about fracking.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au:80/environment/english-tremors-blamed-on-fracking-20111103-1mwi5.html

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