DALLAS –– A team of seismologists at Southern Methodist University are studying the relationship, if any, between earthquakes and oil and gas drilling. This comes after the city of Azle reported more than 20 earthquakes of at least 2.2 magnitude since November.
“We are interested in understanding if the fluid injection points are specifically related to the Azle sequence or the Mineral Wells sequence,” said geophysics professor Heather DeShon. "It is important to remember we do not understand if, and how injecting fluid into crust reactivates faults.”
Four digital monitors provided by the U.S. Geological Survey will monitor bursts of seismic activity. The results of those monitors will be available online here.
The study began in December. The seismologists hope the monitors will detect earthquakes that are too small for the USGS to pick up.
“It’s not enough for us to say, there is a well and there is earthquakes, they are related,” said DeShon.
The goal is this research is to pinpoint the quakes epicenter and get a better reading of the size and movement of the seismic activity.
“Until we have a predictive model about how a well is related to a fault, we will not be able to definitely say what the cause of these earthquakes or other earthquakes are,” Deshon said.