Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Earthquakes Reported This Morning Northeast of Big Spring; Is Fracking the Cause of Recent Shaking in the Area?

BALMORHEA: In the early morning hours in West Texas, we experienced two minor earthquakes, one at 3.1 and the other at 2.5. They were centered at 32.897N, 100.833W, east-northeast of Snyder. Given that earthquakes are relatively rare in this area, some environmental activists have assumed that they might have been caused by "fracking."

The link to Snyder above and the graphic below opens to Google Maps where one can readily see on the satellite shots below scores of lite-colored drilling sites on the West Texas plains.  The maps are centered on the coordinates given for the quakes.

View Larger Map

Here is the report:

On Sunday, 2/27/11, the Balmorhea Progressive published our initial report on "fracking" in the area, "Increased Drilling for Oil & Gas, "Fracking" and Condensate Compression Stations; Are We Safe?"

In Pecos, on 2/23/11, there were widespread reports of shaking.  After complaints began to pour in, the answer that citizens were eventually given, was that the blasts and shaking were being caused at a research facility southeast of Pecos where automotive testing was being conducted.  Unreported was the fact that the company reported as responsible for the shakes, Applied Research Associates, also does defense research and research in the "physical sciences".
Pecos Residents Concerned About Blasts Around City
Meron Berkson
CBS 7 News
February 23, 2011
Pecos, Texas - People around Pecos are complaining about loud noises that cause buildings to shake all over town.
The noise comes from a research facility nearby and while it’s been quiet for about a month, those blasts are set to start up again soon.
"I thought it was an earthquake or something," said a local gas station attendant.
"Kind of like an airplane breaking the sound barrier," said Peggy Walker, a Pecos Resident.
Another resident, Arcadio Baeza told us, “It's a weird feeling,"
They are among many still feeling the after effects of the blasts coming from explosive operations testing being done by the Applied Research Associates at the Pecos Research and Testing center.
"I just heard a loud noise and the mirror on my wall moved a little bit."
"Our building shook not knowing what it was, really thought it was an earthquake," Walker said.
 Apparently, with no intended irony, the report continued:
And as Pecos Mayor Venetta Seals explains, these blasts came as a shock to the city.
The mayor was later quoted as saying:
"They had said that this was all taken care of. That there shouldn't be any problems and it was a few days after that when the windows here in Pecos were rattling," said Seals.
After a few more anecdotes from concerned citizens, the report moved on to reveal an even deeper level of concern expressed by the Pecos mayor.  If the news report accurately reflected the meaning and context of her statement, Mayor Seals was apparently neither aware of the implications of her comments nor the nonchalance with which she spoke them:
Mayor Seals says that these operations could continue for years, but if the city still feels the effects of the blasts, she expects more complaints to keep coming in.
In fact, the Applied Research Associates at the Pecos Research and Testing center, located near the farming community of Coyanosa on Farm-to-Market-Road 1450,  is surrounded by fracking sites, some even closer to Pecos than the facility itself.  

This leads one to wonder if the answers given to Mayor Seals by administrators of the testing site were completely forthcoming. Is the testing site connected in any way to the oil and gas drilling in the area?  Is the concurrence of fracking, the earthquakes to the northeast near Big Spring, and the ongoing testing at the ARA facility coincidental? 

Below is a satellite closeup of a possible fracking injection site. Zooming out, one can see scores of drilling sites east of that location along with several associated fracking injection ponds.

More will be revealed as we trudge the road to happy destiny....

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