No Fracking Way

Ohio’s First Frackquakes

by Chip Northrup on March 10, 2014

Happened the other night. And another one the next day.  Not from an active frackwaste disposal well – which is the new Ohio normal – but from fracking a shale gas well. You know, the kind of frackquake that the frackers said was “impossible.” This is strike 4 in the list of incidents that have proven that fracks can cause earthquakes – Blackpool, England, Horn River, BC, the Texas “micro-quakes” and the research of Schlumberger.  Congratulations Ohio. Glue your crockery to the shelves, and choose your fracking pizza. 

Since local authorities don’t take kindly to frackers scaring the frack out of people (even in Ohio), they have shut the frackers down at the frackquake site. So much for the impossibility of fracking causing earthquakes. Never happens. Except when it does. Here’s an excerpt from an email I received from a geology professor in Ohio the morning after the first tremor:

‘There was a M 2.8 earthquake today at 2:26 am. It was located east of Poland, OH between Hwy 224 and the Carbon- Limestone Landfill. There are no injection wells in that area  but the ODNR well-locator shows that there are numerous horizontal shale-gas fracking wells nearby, as shown below.

If the working hypothesis that the earthquake is related to the fracking this would not be the first documented case of fracking causing earthquakes. The British Columbia (Canada) Oil and gas Commission documented fracking caused earthquakes in the Horn River Basin.

The original quake was upgraded to 3.0

There was a second quake M 2.6 at 11:44 am today.

Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer
Professor of Geology
Dept. of Geological & Environmental Sciences
Youngstown State University
Youngstown, Ohio 4455

(330) 941-1753

Here’s a copy of Dr. Beiersdorfer’s take on what probably happened.

The Ohio regulators have shut the frackers down at the frackquake site: 

POLAND, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has ordered a fracker to halt all operations in Poland Township after two earthquakes shook the area today.

The first occurred at 2:26 a.m. at 40.017 N, 80.537 W at a depth of 1.2 miles in Lowellville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS initially recorded that quake at a magnitude of 2.8, but later updated it to a 3.0 magnitude.

The epicenter was directly below property owned by Republic Services’ Carbon Limestone Landfill, where Hillcorp Energy Co. has one well actively producing and a number of others being drilled.
The second occurred at 11:44 a.m., to the southeast of the first epicenter in Lowellville, registering at a 2.6 magnitude.

There are no injection disposal wells in the area. Both earthquake sites are near laterals extending from hydraulic fracturing wells.

Ohio Frackquake

Monday, March 10, 2014
By Dan O’Brien

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The National Earthquake Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey places the epicenter of a 2.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Mahoning County near to where Hilcorp Energy Co. is drilling 12 Utica Shale wells in Poland Township, according to the agency’s website.

“We had about four calls about it around 2:30 a.m., and that’s about it,” reports Brian Goodin, Poland Township police chief, after he spoke with midnight crew employees this morning. “There was no report of damage, just some noise.” (See Frackquakes are Noisier Than Regular Earthquakes)

The calls came from residents living in an area along North Lima, Kennedy and Robinson roads in the township, the chief reported. A dispatcher at the Boardman Township Police Department also confirmed similar phone calls to their offices.

A resident of an upscale development off Struthers Road told The Business Journal that she and her husband slept through the earthquake. “But my girls were freaking out,” she said. Her youngest, an elementary school student, “was really scared,” she said.

According to the USGS, the earthquake occurred at 2:26 a.m. one mile south of Lowellville. The agency pinpoints the epicenter at 41.017 N, 80.537 W, or roughly 2,000 feet northeast of Poland Township Park on land owned by Republic Services’ Carbon Limestone Landfill, where Hilcorp is developing 12 oil and gas wells in the Utica shale formation.

The quake registered at a depth of 6,300 feet, the USGS reports. The same depth as the shale gas wells.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Hilcorp has drilled seven wells at the site. One of those wells is in production, another one is being drilled and four other wells are permitted at the site.

In 2011, the Mahoning Valley was rocked by a series of earthquakes including a New Year’s Eve quake with a magnitude of 4.0. The ODNR later tied the quakes to an injection well operated by now-defunct D&L Energy Corp.

Heher also confirms that there are no deep injection wells on the property. After the 2011 quakes, the state of Ohio placed a moratorium on injection wells within five miles of the D&L site on Ohio Works Drive in Youngstown.”

The frackquake’s location and depth are consistent with the shale gas wells:

Epicenter 41.017°N 80.537°W

Depth=2.0km, 6,300 feet

The epicenter is almost directly where the shale well is located, slightly NE of PT Park:,-82.669252&sspn=5.239782,9.525146&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&ll=41.016952,-80.536995&spn=0.04054,0.074415&t=m&z=14

Compare the long/lat numbers from google maps w/fractracker’s well map.

There are multiple laterals at the well site: CLL1-6H, CLL2-1H, CLL2-2H,  CLL2-3H, CLL2-4H, CLL2-5H, CLL2-6H

There are no active disposal wells in the area, per Fractracker: 

According to, there are “Non-Receiving” Class II Injection Wells in the following locations:

Coitsville: “Northstar Collins,” “Northstar Khalil”
Beaver Twp: “Northstar Lucky”
Springfield Twp: “Mohawk Printup”

Ohio Frackquakes


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Sweeney March 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

No matter what caused the quakes, how great an idea is it to have shale gas wells in an area that has earthquakes? Couldn’t the quakes compromise the integrity (such as it is) of the gas wells?


rjs March 16, 2014 at 7:34 am

wish i would have found this post earlier…i just spent several hours trying to establish with the clumsy use of google maps and geology profiles what you have already clearly explained …


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