State officials investigate possible link between fracking, earthquakes

Officials in states with high natural gas production are investigating whether an increase in the frequency of earthquakes is related to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, Bloomberg News reported.

Between the beginning of the year and April 6, Oklahoma had more magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes than in all of 2013, Bloomberg said.

That increase, as well as similar earthquakes in Texas and Ohio, are thought to be linked to fracking and ground injection of wastewater. But the research has been largely inconclusive. The possible link spurred Oklahoma to curtail operations at two fracking sites while they investigate nearby earthquakes, Bloomberg said.

Researchers did connect Oklahoma’s largest recorded earthquake, a 5.7-magnitude quake in 2011, to fracking, but the state did not agree.

Arkansas and Ohio have passed new regulations to address wastewater-caused earthquakes, and other states are considering similar rules, Bloomberg reported.