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New Evidence Human Activity Has Caused North Texas Quakes

So maybe we should determine some limits?

The Morning News reports on new information coming out of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco:

Evidence that human activity is behind the Dallas quakes includes a new analysis showing that the faults beneath Dallas and Fort Worth had been dormant for hundreds of millions of years until 2008, the year felt earthquakes first began rumbling through the area.

Oil and gas companies have argued the opposite: that the faults in North Texas have moved throughout geologic time and that the current earthquakes are natural.

Earlier this week, SMU seismologist Beatrice Magnani compared North Texas faults with those known to have produced earthquakes over geologic time. Active faults have visible ruptures, while the small faults that the SMU team has mapped in Azle and Venus have barely perceptible ones.

Unlike historically active faults, those in North Texas also do not extend into the uppermost layers of sediment.  Faults that have been active over hundreds of millions of years typically disturb the uppermost layers of the Earth’s crust, said Magnani.

“Those faults are dead, and they have just been rejuvenated. That is the most reasonable conclusion,” said Magnani, referring to the faults beneath North Texas.

SMU seismologist Heather DeShon suggests that the Texas Railroad Commission begin collecting daily injection volumes and pressure from operators of natural gas drilling. Without that data, it’s difficult to determine the limits under which wastewater disposal wells might be operated safely, without reawakening faults.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Unless the industry refuses to accept that it might have anything at all to do with the sudden uptick in seismic activity.