Recent Earthquakes Move Shakers To Public Meeting

BALMORHEA, TX (Ben Caxton) — A recent spate of minor earthquakes have shaken people enough to warrant a public meeting on the subject. At last count, a little more than a dozen minor earthquakes, all magnitude 3 or below, have shaken the area since the start of the year. That may not seem like a lot. But Reeves County has only seen 30 earthquakes in total since the 1930’s. Some local residents blame the oil boom and its associated drilling activity for the minor shakers. So, they organized a public meeting on the topic. Sponsored by the “SaveOurSprings” group, the meeting in Balmorhea was to discuss what might be done. The US Geological Survey has said that while they do note some increase in activity where drilling is occurring, they believe the cause is not the drilling itself, but the waste water wells where chemicals, water, and other fracking wastes are injected under pressure deep below the water table. The groups involved are concerned not just about earthquakes, but air quality caused by flaring at wells, and water quality issues that could be caused by drilling contaminating local water supplies. The area’s major driller, Apache Corp. has promised to closely monitor air and water quality. And now earthquake activity apparently. The USGS database shows that there is an 11.05% chance of a major earthquake within 50km of Balmorhea within the next 50 years. The largest recorded earthquake in the area was a 4.0 magnitude earlier this year.

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