A Deeper Dive into What’s Causing the Fox Creek Quakes

A new study led by an Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) seismologist sheds light on why the number and magnitude of earthquakes in the Fox Creek region of Alberta are on the rise.

The Alberta Energy Regulator’s AGS branch worked with researchers at Western University, the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and Natural Resources Canada to understand the link between hydraulic fracturing and induced seismicity in the Fox Creek area.

Entitled Hydraulic Fracturing Volume is Associated With Induced Earthquake Productivity in the Duvernay Play, the study notes that hydraulic fracturing operations with larger fluid-injection volumes tend to cause earthquakes. However, volume alone isn’t the full story: there’s also a greater likelihood of causing detectable earthquakes when fracturing in certain areas of the hydrocarbon-rich Duvernay formation. The study suggests that the geology likely dictates which areas are prone to these earthquakes.

The study has been published in Science—one of the world’s leading scientific journals.

CBC News: Why some fracking wells are prone to triggering earthquakesopens in new window
Volume of fluid injected is a big factor, but only in areas with connection to existing fault

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