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Youngstown, Ohio Earthquakes Tied to Wastewater Injection After Fracking, New Research Shows

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Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water, sand and other materials under high pressures into a well to fracture rock. This opens up fissures that help oil and natural gas flow out more freely. This process generates wastewater that is often pumped underground as well, in order to get rid of it.

A furious debate has erupted over the safety of the practice. Advocates claim fracking is a safe, economical source of clean energy, while critics argue that it can taint drinking water supplies, among other problems.

One of the most profitable areas for fracking lies over the geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which reaches deep underground from Ohio and West Virginia northeast into Pennsylvania and southern New York. The Marcellus Shale is rich in natural gas; geologists estimate it may contain up to 489 trillion cubic feet (13.8 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas, more than 440 times the amount New York State uses annually. Many of the rural communities living over the formation face economic challenges and want to attract money from the energy industry.       


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