The Fracking Data

 

Fracking has created a real problem in the United States.

 

According to the United States Geological Survey, in 2015 Oklahoma recorded over 2,500 earthquakes with magnitudes of over 3.5. This number is up from only 5 recorded in 2005.

This drastic change in the region is possibly tied to the practice of fracking. Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. Additional disposal wells are also created to deposit wastewater, created by this practice, deep underground.

Using statistics on earthquake activity from March 2013 to March 2016 (provided on the USGS's site) along with fracking and disposal well locations (provided by FracFocus.org), I have paired Oklahoma fracking and disposal wells with corresponding earthquakes in their respective locations. If a well falls within the area impacted by the earthquake, it is considered related for purposes of this graphic.

As of right now, earthquakes cannot be technically classified as "man made" or tied to a specific site. However, the data tells a compelling story that should not be ignored. 

 

For those curious, here are the links to the data used: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/ and https://fracfocus.org/data-download