The practice of fracking to make gas and oil wells productive is being put on hold in Ohio after a 4.0 earthquake struck the area near Youngstown on Saturday.
Fracking, which involves the use of pumping fluids at high pressure into the ground to crack the shale deposits, typically Precambrian era deposits, to release oil and/or gas is on hold at the wells which are near Youngstown, Ohio.
An earthquake of 4.0 on the Richter scale was felt by area residents on Saturday, and reported by the US Geological Survey as being 5km or 3.1 miles deep. The quake caused no major damage although it did shake some of the homes in the area according to CNN.
Jimmy Hughes was quoted as saying: "I could see the house move. ... It seemed like the ground was moving. "
The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, James Zehringer, had made an announcement on the previous day regarding the shutting down of one of the wells being operated by D&L Energy which was nearby to Youngstown after a 2.5 tremor was recorded the day before Christmas.
After the temblor struck on Saturday, four more wells which had been scheduled to begin operation soon have been placed on an indefinite hold as reported at examiner.com
Opposing sides of the issue were made clear wen Ben Lupo was quoted as saying "We have approximately 1,000 wells between Ohio and Pennsylvania and we've never had a problem ... with an earthquake or spill,"
Columbia Universities Dr. Won-Young Kim, on the other hand seems to believe there is a definite connection between the disposal wells, and fracking sites and the recent series of earthquakes.
"In my opinion, yes," the recent spate of earthquakes around Youngstown is related to a fluid-injection well, Kim stated -- though there has been no definitive determination, by the state or other authorities, indicating as much.
Ohio State Rep. Robert Hagan has stated he believes there is a connection between the wells and the tremors.
Rep. Hagan, while a locomotive engineer, and a high school graduate, does not list any sort of geology degrees on his state website.
Despite being far from any large known faults, Ohio is no stranger to earthquakes, with a 1986 tremor at 4.8 on the Richter scale and another of 4.5 in 1998.
A 5.4 magnitude quake in 1937 is the strongest recorded quake in Ohio.