Saturday Silliness: Tamino aka Grant Foster fracks himself

People send me stuff.

This morning my inbox had a forwarded Twitter item about a Tammy post where supposedly none of what McIntyre discovered about the dating problems in Marcott et al hockey stick “matter”, because “Tamino” has proven otherwise, even though Marcott’s PhD thesis with the same proxy data (but not arbitrarily re-dated) does not show the 20th century uptick. But, all Tamino did is throw some artificially generated spikes into the mix, run a process where he doesn’t show the code/work, and say “trust me”. It is amusing. We’ll save that for a future examination, as I’d like to see what Mr. McIntyre has to say.

In the meantime, Josh has a cartoon about a previous episode from Tammyworld:

Tamino_sings_Climate_Audit_scr

Josh writes:

Tamino’s recent posts on Marcott et al bear an uncanny similarity to Steve McIntyre’s work at Climate Audit. Dave Burton noticed and commented:

Grant, I find it just plain bizarre that you wrote all this and never even mentioned Steve McIntyre, who first figured out what Marcott had done wrong, and whose excellent work is the whole reason you wrote this.

H/t WUWT

This cartoon imagines Tamino, aka statistician and folk singer Grant Foster, putting things right. Do suggest some more songs that Tamino might like to try. I am sure he will be very grateful.

After getting the email this morning, I decided to look around Tammyworld a bit. What was even more amusing was his post about hydraulic fracturing aka “fracking” and earthquakes, where he tries to show a correlation between recent hockey stick style upticks in low magnitude earthquakes in Oklahoma. Of course as anyone who follows the energy debate knows, “fracking” is the recently “discovered” evil incarnate process, even though it has been in use since 1949, and prior to that they used nitroglycerine to do the same job of enhancing well production by fracturing rock nearby the well casing.

There’s another Josh cartoon in this one, read on.

Tamino leads with:

Mother Jones reports on recent earthquakes in regions not accustomed to much seismic activity, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Ohio. Much of their story consists of anecdotal evidence, particularly the strongest earthquake in Oklahoma history at magnitude 5.6 in November 2011, which happened along a fault which a Univ. of Oklahoma geophysics professor referred to as “a dead fault that nobody ever worried about.” Since this quake “injured two people, destroyed 14 homes, toppled headstones, closed schools, and was felt in 17 states,” people are starting to worry.

I’ve highlighted the stick Tamino focused on.

tamino_earthquake_sticks

He plots the Oklahoma data and gosh it sure looks like another recent man-made event doesn’t it?

ok1[1]

Source: http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/ok1.jpg

His conclusion:

So far, the fossil-fuel industry has denied any connection between recent earthquake activity and oil/gas production. The U.S. Geological Survey disagrees. Who you gonna believe?

At first I thought maybe he had a valid point, because the data presented sure looks convincing, and I started looking for data about the number of new wells drilled in Oklahoma to see if it supported his claim, but midway through the search process I started laughing, when I realized Tamino’s vision is just another case of this:

taminos_fraxxon_vision

Thanks to Josh for allowing the borrowing and amending of his original cartoon for our entertainment today.

You see, I thought I’d have to do some data wrangling and plotting to see if Tamino’s point was really valid or not. But then, I realized that much like Mann’s hockey stick, and the Yamal incident, where some data that might not support the premise was excluded, so it was with the case with Tamino’s fracktastic analysis.

Some background. Some claim that this paper…

Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma Oklahoma Geological Survey / by Austin Holland
http://www.ogs.ou.edu/pubsscanned/openfile/OF1_2011.pdf

[From the Report]

Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located. Most of these earthquakes occurred within a 24 hour period after hydraulic fracturing operations had ceased. There have been previous cases where seismologists have suggested a link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, but data was limited, so drawing a definitive conclusion was not possible for these cases.

…”proves” that there is a link between fracturing and Earthquakes. Maybe there is, but I thought to myself, “the past, like the blade of the infamous hockey stick is flat, if fracking has been around since 1949, why isn’t there more spikes in earlier data in Tamino’s plot”? Surely, there must have been some fracking going on in oil-rich Oklahoma before 2009 when the uptick started.

The USGS report on the Nov 6th 2011 quake in Oklahoma states:

The magnitude 4.7 and 5.6 earthquakes that occurred on November 5, 2011, were situated in a region located about 50 km east of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Earthquakes are not unusual in Oklahoma, but they often are too small to be felt. From 1972-2008 about 2-6 earthquakes a year were recorded by the USGS National Earthquake Information Center; these earthquakes were scattered broadly across the east-central part of the state. In 2008 the rate of earthquakes began to rise, with over a dozen earthquakes occurring in the region east- northeast of Oklahoma City and southwest of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2009 the rate of seismicity continued to climb, with nearly 50 earthquakes recorded–many big enough to be felt. In 2010 this activity continued. The magnitude 4.7 and 5.6 earthquakes of November 5, 2011, are the largest events recorded during this period of increased seismicity. Additionally, the M5.6 quake is the largest quake to hit Oklahoma in modern times.

There have been dozens of aftershocks recorded following the shallow November 5, 2011 magnitude 5.6 earthquake and its magnitude 4.7 foreshock that occurred on the same day. These aftershocks will continue for weeks and potentially months but will likely decrease in frequency. This is not an unusual amount of aftershock activity for a magnitude 4.7 to 5.6 earthquake sequence. There is always a small possibility of an earthquake of larger magnitude following any earthquake, but the occurrence of the magnitude 5.6 earthquake, and the increase in activity in recent years does not necessarily indicate that a larger more damaging earthquake will occur.

The word “fracking” or any reference to injection wells or drilling as a possible cause or enhancer is completely absent from the USGS report. Even Scientific American doesn’t buy the hype saying:

Did Fracking Cause Oklahoma’s Largest Recorded Earthquake?

Probably not, as the gas drilling practice tends to be associated with minor quakes, not big ones, seismologists say

It seems simply like just another few and far between earthquake event in the Midwest, like the New Madrid Earthquake, which had it occurred today, some activist would most certainly try to find a fracking connection.

Back to Oklahoma. I mused that Oklahoma really wasn’t in “boom” mode recently (compared to its past drilling history), so why the recent uptick in seismic activity? Was it natural, or enhanced by fracking? And then it hit me; I was looking at the wrong state.

Where is the biggest “boom” in fracking enhanced oil production occurring? North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken formation seen in the map at right.

Map of Bakken Formation reservoirs in the US portion of the Williston Basin (Saskatchewan is north border). Most oil comes from Elm Coulee Oil Field. Image: Wikipedia

From this article in Bloomberg news:

To reach the Bakken formation, a 360-million-year-old shale bed two miles underground that geologists say holds a 15,000 square-mile region of oil, companies must use a drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. With fracking, water is pumped down a well with sand and chemicals to crack rock and release oil. Officials estimate the field could be productive for as long as 25 years.

Wikipedia says:

New rock fracturing technology available starting in 2008 has caused a recent boom in Bakken production. By the end of 2010 oil production rates had reached 458,000 barrels (72,800 m3) per day outstripping the capacity to ship oil out of the Bakken.[8][9] The production technology gain has led a veteran industry insider to declare that the USGS estimates are too low.[10]

It stands to reason that with this much fracking going on in the biggest oil boom region in the USA in a short and recent time span, surely there must be some seismic effects as a result of it. Surely there must be a cluster of small quakes around the Bakken region?

Nope.

Locations of earthquakes with magnitude 3 or greater

Tamino_USA_Mag3or_greater_earthquakes

Source: http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/quakes.jpg

I have to wonder why Tamino didn’t plot the USA with magnitude 1 or greater quakes, since that dataset is what he focused his main analysis on? Just looking at magnitude 3 and greater, there isn’t much of a signal in Oklahoma anyway, and the nearby New Madrid fault seems to have more.

So, what does the USGS earthquake data that Tammy plotted say about eastern Montana and North Dakota where the big fracking boom is happening (highlighted in yellow)?

Tamino_north_dakota_earthquakes

Source: http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/normnum1.jpg

The earthquake data for the Bakken region is as flat as the plains of North Dakota itself.

So on the question of “does fracking causes earthquakes”, “Who you gonna believe?”.

I think I’ll pass on Tamino’s visions.

UPDATE: Tamino has responded,

He shows that a Scientific American article suggested that fracking was probably not the cause of Oklahoma’s biggest quake on record. And by God, if fracking isn’t wreaking seismic hell in Nebraska then Anthony Watts won’t accept that there’s any evidence of its having an impact anywhere.

LOL!

He predictably ignores the issue I point out with Bakken and lack of earthquakes there. but doubles down on Oklahoma, and then despite the act that his previous post title says:

Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?

…he goes to plan B “look a squirrel!” and goes to the wastewater injection well argument.

Anthony Watts pushes the idea that there’s no relationship between fracking and increased earthquake activity, he won’t even consider an indirect relationship due to the wastewater injection which fracking requires. Both the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Research Council disagree. Who you gonna believe?

I’ll believe the data, and the data says there are NOT swarms of Earthquakes in the Bakken formation, but there are some in Oklahoma. This difference is an issue, and he’s offered no explanation for this conundrum. 

Does fracking and its byproduct wastewater cause some earthquakes? Maybe – but correlation is not causation, much like the correlation lie activist Josh Fox made in Gasland about flammable gas in well water, which turned out to be there long before fracking. It may simply be that some areas are more sensitive than others, or some processes are better than others, but it certainly doesn’t suggest that all fracking and its byproduct wastewater injection causes earthquakes as activists would like you to believe. It has only been recently an issue since global warming “concerns” have turned it into a potential tool to shut down energy production.

So if there some small magnitude 1-3 earthquakes in Oklahoma, are they big enough to worry about, much like the small earthquakes around mining operations known for decades? Probably not. I sure don’t, only the activists seem to get upset about this.

Since Tamino cited an event in the UK, (although Wales was claimed) it is instructive to have a look at what they say on page 40 of The Royal Society report (h/t Miguelito):  Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing June 2012 (PDF)

5.3 Seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing
There are two types of seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing. Microseismic events are a routine feature of hydraulic fracturing and are due to the propagation of engineered fractures (see Chapter 4). Larger seismic events are generally rare but can be induced by hydraulic fracturing in the presence of a pre-stressed fault. The energy released during hydraulic fracturing is less than the energy released by the collapse of open voids in rock formations, as occurs during coal mining. The intensity of seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing is likely to be smaller due to the greater depth at which shale gas is extracted compared to the shallower depth of coal mining. Magnitude 3 ML may be a realistic upper limit for seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing (Green et al 2012). If a seismic event of magnitude 3 ML occurs at depths of 2-3km, structural damage at the surface is unlikely.

On 1st April 2011, the Blackpool area experienced a seismic event of magnitude 2.3 ML shortly after Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall well in the Bowland Shale was hydraulically fractured. Another seismic event of magnitude 1.5 ML occurred on 27th May 2011
following renewed hydraulic fracturing of the same well.

Analysis of the seismic data suggests that the two events were due to the reactivation of a pre-stressed fault. In abscence of further data it is difficult to  determine whether the fault was directly intersected by the well, or whether hydraulic fracturing led to pressure changes that induced a distant fault to slip.

Note this: “Magnitude 3 ML may be a realistic upper limit for seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing (Green et al 2012).” That supports what has been said about the November 5th, 2011 magnitude 5.6 earthquake it Oklahoma – it doesn’t seem likely that it was connected to fracking, though many people (Tamino included) want it to be, because then it becomes a political tool if they can prove it.

So has this event in Blackpool stopped anything in the UK? No, the UK Shale Gas Boom is going ahead, because rational people realize that the risks are small and the benefits far outweigh those risks:

Earlier this month the UK gave the go-ahead to hydraulic fracturing, under tight regulatory conditions, a year after the practice was suspended when an exploration company triggered two small earth tremors in Lancashire.

Problem solved.

But Tamino hates fracking, hates “deniers”, and generally is just an unpleasant bloke about anything that has to do with talking point issues pushed by the left. I find him and his irrational hatred of anything associated with oil extraction wholly amusing, and it’s the best free Saturday entertainment you could ask for.

So who you gonna believe? Well I believe fracking, like any process, has some risks, and the benefits far outweigh the highly publicized events used as political tools. I also believe I’ll go fill up my gas tank and turn on my natural gas powered fireplace. – Anthony

UPDATE2 4/7/13: From a guest post last year by David Middleton:

Frohlich, 2012 found no correlation between fracking and earthquakes… NONE, NADA, ZIP, ZERO-POINT-ZERO…

Most earthquakes identified in the study ranged in magnitude from 1.5 to 2.5, meaning they posed no danger to the public.

I didn’t find any higher risks from disposal of hydraulic fracturing fluids than was thought before,” says Frohlich.”My study found more small quakes, nearly all less than magnitude 3.0, but just more of the smaller ones than were previously known. The risk is all from big quakes, which don’t seem to occur here.”

All the wells nearest to the eight earthquake groups reported high injection rates (maximum monthly injection rates exceeding 150,000 barrels of water). Yet in many other areas where wells had similarly high injection rates, there were no earthquakes. Frohlich tried to address those differences.

Location of Barnett Shale and area covered in accompanying map

Texas map showing the Barnett Shale (gray) and rectangle indicating region mapped in figure 2. Credit: Cliff Frohlich/U. of Texas at Austin.

“It might be that an injection can only trigger an earthquake if injected fluids reach and relieve friction on a nearby fault that is already ready to slip,” says Frohlich. “That just isn’t the situation in many places.”

Hydraulic fracturing is an industrial process in which water and various chemicals are pumped deep underground in order to fracture rock, allowing oil or gas to more easily flow to a well. As petroleum is produced at the surface, most hydraulic fracturing fluids return to the surface too. Frohlich is careful to point out that he did not evaluate the possible correlation of earthquakes with the actual hydraulic fracturing process, but rather the effects of disposing of fracturing fluids and other wastes in these injection wells.

And finally, as I have previously posted, the induced seismicity from fracking and most injection operations is almost entirely nonpalpable.

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124 Responses to Saturday Silliness: Tamino aka Grant Foster fracks himself

  1. P Walker says:

    How about Hank Williams’ ” You Win Again ” ?

  2. cui bono says:

    Brilliant investigation Anthony! Lovely cartoons Josh.

    Tamino isn’t anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is.
    Then again, nobody in human history has ever been as smart as he thinks he is.

  3. Peter Miller says:

    I think you have to be a little careful about the subject of fracking and ‘earthquakes’.

    There is little doubt fracking causes the premature movement of minor faults under pressure, creating minor tremors. Most of these tremors are never be felt as they score very low on the Richter Scale.

    If you live in an area of active underground mining, minor tremors – never dangerous – become a way of life and are just ignored. So it is with fracking, despite what the goofy greenies try and persuade the gullible.

    I may be wrong, but I do not believe that any tremor of over magnitude 3.5 (just noticeable) has ever been attributed to fracking, but there have been plenty of less than magnitude 2.

    Here is something for conspiracy theorists: Those who believe passionately in global warming almost always believe that fracking is bad/evil/whatever as well.

  4. tty says:

    Actually those small earth tremors almost all seem to be related to disposal wells where large volumes of liquid is permanently injected into permeable rock formations.
    Fracking is by definition used where there aren’t any fractures in the rock and are therefore much less likely to release any pre-existing strain.

  5. dp says:

    The largest fracking operation in the contiguous 48 states and possibly the western hemisphere is the caldera at Yellowstone Park. In the graphics it is conspicuous by its flat line trend.

  6. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    Who is fracking in Iceland?
    http://en.vedur.is/#tab=skjalftar
    Must be a very big operation.

  7. JP says:

    I wonder how long it will be until the Alarmists claim the fracking teleconnects with ENSO?

  8. kim says:

    Heh, I can remember feeling the need to make cryptic jokes about seeing through a glass darkly.
    ==============

  9. Jerome Hudson says:

    Clive Best has had a look into Tamino’s allegation that Marcott’s methodology would have revealed large spikes in the historical record. See:
    http://clivebest.com/blog/
    I find Best’s arguments pretty convincing. Smoothing, especially with time axis shifting, knocks down spikes pretty well.
    - Jerry Hudson

  10. Bryan A says:

    Do your Frackin in the Bakken
    you’ll be shaken never more
    Do your Frackin in the Bakken
    and the Oil runs to your door

  11. Kasuha says:

    There’s always a question whether fracking couldn’t have some consequences afters some time passes. Perhaps created ruptures need a few years to propagate to allow some stresses on them to build or whatever. So if fields in Montana are quite new, there may not be any effect yet, while in Oklahoma the effect might be starting to appear despite recent decline in fracking. But even if all that was true, an effect which only can be found in “magnitude >=1″ earthquakes does not sound very scary, Anything below 2 is only detectable using seismographs.

  12. When the Yellowstone caldera had it’s last eruption….it sent 240 cubic miles of granite into space and covered the Great Plains with 6 feet of ash….try to OUT FRACK that !

  13. Hoi Polloi says:

    “Who You Gonna Believe, Me or Your Lying Eyes”

  14. Pathway says:

    Injection of used fracing fluids into deep wells has cause lubrication of fault lines and induced minor tremors. This is documented in Denver in the 60′s at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

  15. DirkH says:

    Smells Like Team Spirit

  16. Camburn says:

    Tamino is looking for a cause that does not exist in reality.

    Being I live in ND, the increase in earthquakes caused by fracking has been front page news. We are still waiting for the 1st page tho, as there has been NO news.

  17. philincalifornia says:

    Tears of a Clown

    … that old Smokey Robinson classic.

  18. rockdoc says:

    There are some good discussions on the subject at the Oklahoma Geologic Survey site.
    Their view is that the main risk is from injection of waste waters into the Absaroka Fm which is close to swarms of known faults.
    http://wichita.ogs.ou.edu/documents/Mississippian_Oct31_2012_H&K.pdf
    Also it is important to consider that for this to happen you need to have pre-existing faults in the subsurface and the wellbore has to communicate with that fault in some manner. As a consequence you wouldn’t expect this to be possible in North Dakota where there is little in the way of subsurface faults. There are a lot in Oklahoma, hence the history of earthquakes in the area. There are a very few cases where it looks like very minor faults have been triggered by the fraccing process….generally due to poor operator controls in first not identifying that the well may have crossed a fault and secondly not recognizing from the pumping pressure response that you are connected to a fault conduit rather than creating new fractures. This was the story with the company Quadzilla in the UK which is probably the best investigated example.
    http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/protecting-our-environment/seismicity/what-happened/

  19. wws says:

    “Here is something for conspiracy theorists: Those who believe passionately in global warming almost always believe that fracking is bad/evil/whatever as well.”

    Very simple explanation – both involve the violation of precious Earth Mother Gaia by despicable, money grubbing humans. Further proof, as if any was needed, that we aren’t dealing with any logical or scientific processes here – this is a Cult, plain and simple.

  20. Kurt in Switzerland says:

    Merle Haggard might want to be consulted regarding the great state of Oklahoma…

    Kurt in Switzerland

  21. Mycroft says:

    Question to ask is why Germany has not had these problems with fracking including earthquakes,methane gas pollution in water when they have been doing it since the early 60′s!!

  22. Sam the First says:

    Ref “Your Cheatin’ Heart” – surely Josh meant “Your Cheatin’ Graph” ?

    Here are a few more songs for the Tammy Manns to sing:

    Always the Last to Know
    Between the Cheats
    Cheater Cheater
    Cookie Jar
    Hole in the Head
    I Don’t Wanna Know
    It Wasn’t Me
    Would I Lie to You?
    Should’ve Said No
    Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm
    and
    Party’s Over

  23. grumpydenier says:

    This is likely to get more air-time in the UK as exploration increases. I have a handy defence when an alarmist brings up this straw-man objection.
    http://www.earthquakes.bgs.ac.uk/earthquakes/recent_uk_events.html

  24. View from the Solent says:

    The commenters at http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/4/6/tamino-does-climate-audit-covers-josh-231.html are busily building a Greatest Hits playlist for Tamino

  25. OldWeirdHarold says:

    I’m also looking for a hockey stick in Pennsylvania, and not seeing one.

  26. RealOldOne2 says:

    More songs for Tammy Manns:
    Chuck Berry – My Ding a Ling (hokey sticks)
    Steve Miller Band – The Joker
    The Isley Brothers – (Hokey sticks) It’s Your Thing
    The American Breed – Bend Me Shape Me (into a hokey stick)
    Beatles – The Fool on the Hill
    Simon & Garfunkel – Fakin’ It
    BTO – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
    Pointer Sisters – Yes we can can (make hokey sticks)
    Dave Clark Five – Catch Us If You Can
    The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (from seeing hokey sticks)
    Gladys Knight & the Pips – I’ve Got to Use My Imagination
    Carly Simon – You’re so Vain
    Elvis Presley – Burning Love (for hokey sticks)
    Johnny Nash – I Can See (hokey sticks) Clearly Now
    Temptations – Just My Imagination
    Vanity Fair – Hitchin’ A Ride (on the hokey stick train)
    Delphonics – Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time
    5th Dimension – Puppet Man
    Glen Campbell – It’s Only Make Believe
    The Carpenters – We’ve Only Just Begun (to make hokey sticks)
    Guess Who – These Eyes (are seeing hokey sticks)
    Nilsson – Everybody’s Talkin’ (about hokey sticks)
    Edwin Hawkins Singers – O Happy (hokey stick) Day
    Gary Wright – (Hokey Stick) Dream Weaver
    Rita Coolidge – Higher & Higher (hokey stick temps)
    Linda Rhonstadt – It’s So Easy (to make hokey sticks)
    Beatles – (Hokey Sticks) With a Little Help From My Friends
    Spinners – Joe South – Games People Play
    Linda Rhonstady – Heat Wave
    Van McCoy – The Hustle
    Three Dog Night – The Show Must Go On
    Classics IV – Spooky (hokey sticks)
    The Monkees – Daydream Beleiver
    Nancy & Frank Sinatra – Something Stupid

  27. ConTrari says:

    Why are persons like Tamino willing, nay eager, to make a laughing stock of themselves again and again? More and more, this scaremongering seems to be intended for internal congregational use, and never mind the rest. Does that mean they have given up the effort to win the public debate? Do they feel the tormenting pain of internal, doubt-driven fracking deep inside?

  28. WTF says:

    By the graphic it appears that fracking in Oklahoma is causing eathquakes in Ontario since fracking is not allowed in Ontario. From Anthony’s assessment it appears that fracking actually reduces tremors. Be nice to see the Alberta data as the entire northern half of the provience is full of holes!! Can’t figure out where to put the sarc on or sarc off indications on this comment :-/ But then again when it comes to ‘climate science’ it is hard to tell what is real, made up or sarcastic comment….sigh.

  29. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Just curious if you compared the geology of OK and ND. If the geology is not similar, then it seems the comparison would mean little. A cursory look at the USGS Earthquake hazard map appears to show a far greater likelihood of earthquakes in the Anadarko Basin (OK) than the Williston Basin (ND). JP

  30. George Turner says:

    In the map you provided, the new Texas shale areas (Eagle, etc) are also devoid of earthquakes.

  31. Louis says:

    How about a few Elvis suggestions for Tamino’s new album?

    You’ve Lost That fracking Feeling
    All Shook Up
    I feel my temperature rising – (Burning Love)
    Mean McIntyre Blues
    There Goes My Hockey Stick – (There Goes My Everything)
    I Really Don’t Want to Know
    (Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I

  32. eco-geek says:

    The Beatles: “A Taste of Money”, “Twist and Shout”
    Procul Harum: “Whiter Shade of Shale”
    Alfred Neuman: “It’s a gas”
    Orbison: “Green Baby”
    Elton John: “Warm Love in a Cold World”

    Stay Cool!

  33. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    rockdoc says:
    April 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm
    Nice work Doc.

  34. DirkH says:

    Mycroft says:
    April 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm
    “Question to ask is why Germany has not had these problems with fracking including earthquakes,methane gas pollution in water when they have been doing it since the early 60′s!!”

    Methane in ground water would not be pollution. It is called natural gas because it occurs naturally.

  35. Eliza says:

    There are really only 2 persons who will pay “legally” heavily for this whole AGW scam
    Number 1 M Mann
    Number 2 Gleick
    The rest P Jones, Hansen and all the others including journalist etc are actually persons who really believed or had some sort or ideology. The above noted are just fraudsters and have made Marcott et al fall into their trap. I would ask that we leave all the others alone but M Mann is a person who can be identified as the ONE person who fraudently committed a crime(Hockey stick) that has cost humanity billions of loses and misery he needs to go to jail. Gleick has actually committed a crime but it is less serious. (BTW how dare he even accuse Freeman Dyson what a creep!)

  36. DesertYote says:

    M 1? That’s nothing. When my son was a teen, he’d create bigger quakes just getting out of bed in the morning.

  37. Thanks, Anthony.
    This is funny!

  38. Steve from Rockwood says:

    How about “cull of McIntyre” with apologies to Paul McCartney.

  39. Jeff L says:

    I am sure most who follow this blog can see what is happening – Fracking is becoming the latest green cause – as the data, with some help from us skeptics – systematically dismantle the CAGW hypothesis, they need to move on & they are moving on to Fracking. We need to continue posts like this & actively dismantle this anti-fracking movement before it gets any more entrenched in the MSM than it already is.

  40. Jesus Green says:

    In addition to the excellent apposite song titles already suggested I’d like to add:
    The Only Way is Up – Yazz
    Up, Up and Away – 5th Dimension
    The Heat is On – Glen Frey

  41. Mike McMillan says:

    “Do suggest some more songs that Tamino might like to try …”

    Okey Dokey:

    Johann Sebastian Bach, “Toccata and Fraud”

    Maurice Ravel, “Pavane pour un Thesis Defunte”

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Requiem” (K626)

    Sergei Rachmaninoff, “Isle of the Redated”

    Gilbert and Sullivan, The Pirates of Penn State (OT, sorry, but I couldn’t resist)

  42. chris y says:

    I posted this at Clive Best’s site regarding the Tamino analysis-

    “Have you looked at the supplemental material from the Marcott et al. paper? It is available for free. Pages 23-26 are quite revealing-

    “9. Signal retention-
    Numerous factors work to smooth away variability in the temperature stack. These include temporal resolution, age model uncertainty, and proxy temperature uncertainty. We conducted a synthetic data experiment to provide a simple, first order quantification of the reduction in signal amplitude due to these factors.”

    “The gain function is near 1 above ~2000 year periods, suggesting that multi-millennial variability in the Holocene stack may be almost fully recorded. Below ~300 year periods, in contrast, the gain is near zero, implying proxy record uncertainties completely remove centennial variability in the stack. Between these two periods, the gain function exhibits a steady ramp and crosses 0.5 at a period of ~1000 years.”

    Figures S17 and S18 are unambiguous regarding the frequency response of the reconstruction. By the way, when they say the gain is ‘near zero’, they mean it is one percent or less of the actual signal amplitude.

    So, apparently Tamino argues that Marcott’s spectral analysis of Marcott’s reconstruction is wrong, in order to defend Marcott’s initial claim that modern temperature trends are unprecedented, even though Marcott later backed off that claim. Who’s on first again…?

  43. Baa Humbug says:

    “You can’t hide your lying declines” (and your Yamal is in disguise)

    “Hit me with your hockey stick” (hit me, hit me, HITTT MEEEEE)

    “Let’s hockey stick together” (c’mon c’mon let’s hockey stick together)

    “Total eclipse of the chart” (every now and then I fall apart)

    “Unskinny plot”

  44. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    To add to what Peter Miller says April 6, 2013 at 11:24 am and what rockdoc says:April 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm:

    The injection of fluids into a known series of faults in Oklahoma may indeed be causing minor earthquakes there. But instead of automatically branding fracking and underground waste water injection “Bad” or “Evil” we should learn from what is occurring there. Could it be possible to utilize fracking techniques to lubricate major faults like the San Andreas and/or the New Madrid fault zone such that they slip gradually over time rather than accumulate so much pent up stress that they only produce major devastating earthquakes? Maybe it’s possible to utilize this technology to prevent the “Big One” from ever happening again. Food for thought.

  45. Verity Jones says:

    May as well add the two I suggested over at the Bish’s

    SinnerMann (Nina Simone)

    Secondhand News (Fleetwood Mac)

  46. Nancy Green says:

    Tamino has played a magician’s trick in claiming to have added 3 spikes to the proxies. He hasn’t added the spikes to the proxies at all. That would have required him to travel back in time and change the temperature of the earth. What he has actual done is drawn three high resolution spikes on top of the low resolution proxies. To understand this by analogy, consider this:

    Adding additional planets around stars does not make them detectable to astronomers 50 years ago. These additional planets would be real spikes. However, drawing picture of planets on the old photos will certainly make them detectable! These are Tamino’s spikes. Your half blind old granny could detect them!! So, no surprise Marcott was able to do the same.

    What Tamino has actually done is to confirm my prediction in an earlier post. That as you increase the resolution of the proxies you are more likely to find spikes,
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/03/proxy-spikes-the-missed-message-in-marcott-et-al/

  47. Taphonomic says:

    Tamino’s scholarship leaves a bit to be desired. He cites “Mother Jones” and what they call anecdotal evidence and his citation to the USGS “study” is not a USGS publication, it is an abstract published by USGS authors (Ellsworth et al. 2012 http://www2.seismosoc.org/FMPro?-db=Abstract_Submission_12&-sortfield=PresDay&-sortorder=ascending&-sortfield=Special+Session+Name+Calc&-sortorder=ascending&-sortfield=PresTimeSort&-sortorder=ascending&-op=gt&PresStatus=0&-lop=and&-token.1=ShowSession&-token.2=ShowHeading&-recid=224&-format=/meetings/2012/abstracts/sessionabstractdetail.html&-lay=MtgList&-find )
    (and yes there is a difference; abstracts are not peer reviewed and their conclusions do not necessarly reflect the opinion of the USGS).

    At that, Ellsworth et al. conclude” “While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production.” This differs significantly from Tammy’s conclusions about the abstract: “…attributing it to oil and gas production” and “So far, the fossil-fuel industry has denied any connection between recent earthquake activity and oil/gas production. The U.S. Geological Survey disagrees”. Those statements in an abstract “almost certainly” and “remains to be determined” are remarkably non-definitive.

    Additionally, Tammy’s graph for M>=1 in Oklahoma has a peak in 2010, a decline in 2011 (which was the year of the 5.6 earthquake) and a distinct downtick in 2012. What’s up with that, a hockey stick that goes down? The USGS web page indicates that additional seismographs were installed after the 5.6 in 2011. If there is a truism is seismology, it’s that there is a distinct correllation between the number of small earthquakes detected and the number of seismographs. So why the decrease?

  48. jorgekafkazar says:

    Louis Hooffstetter says: “…Could it be possible to utilize fracking techniques to lubricate major faults like the San Andreas and/or the New Madrid fault zone such that they slip gradually over time rather than accumulate so much pent up stress that they only produce major devastating earthquakes?”

    The result would be unpredictable and the liability gargantuan. Who would be foolish enough to try? Oh. Yeah, Tamino’s friends, who think we should inject CO2 into the planet, SO2 into the air, and iron into the ocean.

  49. Steve from Rockwood says:

    It’s not really meaningful to call these micro-seismic events (or MSEs) “earthquakes”. It is meaningful to expect fracking to cause such MSEs just as in hardrock mining we record them when mine workings are expanded changing the local stress fields. Is it something to worry about? No. Not any more than MSEs from hydro reservoirs or deep mines.

  50. Mark T says:

    We’ll save that for a future examination, as I’d like to see what Mr. McIntyre has to say.

    Hard to say. I don’t know what his filtering theory background is.

    Either way, in order for the spikes to even show up in the proxy, they would need to be muuuuch larger (as noted by others in this thread). Tamino should know this. Egg on his face, again. I used to think he was competent, but biased towards silliness. I now believe the reverse is true.

    Mark

  51. SMS says:

    You should overlay a US map showing where the oil and gas fields are. I think it would be pretty apparent that there is no correlation between fracing and seismic activity.

    It is more apparent that seismic activity occurs where there are existing “faults”.

  52. Rud Istvan says:

    I did a whole subchapter on fracking and earthquakes in The Arts of Truth. Arkansas and West Virginia were the poster children at that time (gosh a whole year ago). Some of you might enjoy the additional geology. Anthony is correct. With a couple of possible unproven exceptions, the idea that fracking can cause even minor earth quakes is nonsense on a par with Mann and Marcott.

  53. Mickey Reno says:

    - Shake, Rattle and Frack
    - The Chicken Little Dance – a must-play at all wedding receptions, and staying with that theme:
    - The Hockey Pockey (you put your dendro tree ring in, you put your dendro tree ring out… )
    - Auditing the Detectives
    - I Fought the Hypothesis
    - Floating on the Dock of the Bay
    - I Left My Heart in the Bore Hole

  54. Max Hugoson says:

    At one time (30 years ago) the 1275 and 1450 foot deep water wells for Richfield, MN were about the deepest (drilled) wells in the world.

    If I read this right, I think a lot of the Bakken production is at >7000′ deep.

    NOT a lot of communication between stratas that far apart!

    Enjoy this reference. (Not like anyone is HIDING anything!)

    http://wbpc.ca/+pub/document/archived-talks/2010/Bakken_Basics_-_Helms_and_Dokkens.pdf

  55. alexwade says:

    I’ve got some more songs for Mr. Foster. I love the Beatles, so here we go:

    * Mean Mr. McIntyre
    * Baby I’m a Rich Man
    * All You Need is a Hockey Stick
    * Taxman
    * Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Moved North Due to Global Warming)
    * Sgt. Mann’s Lonely Blogs Echo Chamber
    * Back in the U.S.S.R.
    * While My Hockey Stick Gently Weeps
    * You Should Give Me Your Money
    * Magical Mystery Data

  56. Liz says:

    Here is a recent one-page summary of the Nov 2011 earthquakes near OKC – http://www.ogs.ou.edu/earthquakes/OGS_PragueStatement201303.pdf

    The conclusion is that the swarm of quakes and the several larger ones were natural and not caused by fracking. The other paper reviewing the January 2011 swarm of quakes in the Garvin OK area was written by the same geologist – http://www.ogs.ou.edu/pubsscanned/openfile/OF1_2011.pdf .

    In the conclusion, Holland noted that “The strong spatial and temporal correlations to the hydraulic-fracturing in Picket Unit B Well 4-­‐18 certainly suggest that the earthquakes observed in the Eola Field could have possibly been triggered by this activity. Simply because the earthquakes fit a simple pore pressure diffusion model does not indicate that this is the physical process that caused these earthquakes. The number of historical earthquakes in the area and uncertainties in hypocenter locations make it impossible to determine with a high degree of certainty whether or not hydraulic-­‐fracturing induced these earthquakes.”

    He also noted that the quakes were reported by only one person in the area.

    Here is the link to the Oklahoma Geological Survey – http://www.ogs.ou.edu/homepage.php. In the past, they have recorded far more earthquakes in OK than the US Geo Survey, so I tend to trust them more than the USGS.

  57. Glen Livingston says:

    How about this song for the whole bunch of “warmist” priests !!

    Freddy Fender —– “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”

    Has anyone done an accounting of the costs (direct and indirect) that the whole CAGW fiasco has consumed?

  58. beng says:

    The image the title elicits is disturbing…

  59. DR says:

    Shouldn’t the last one be ‘Your Cheatin’ Chart‘?
    I’m just sayin’.

  60. Allen Eltor says:

    As far as I know there’s never been an argument won by A.N.Y. warmist regarding fundamentals being misrepresented by a party, with another party checking up on their work, to observe that indeed, the work is that of a
    Glib
    Conning
    Manipulator
    Acting Grandiose
    Creation of Victims
    Peddling of Salvation
    Expecting Praise for Being there to Do It.

    Do what?
    Doing what they do.
    Being a TamiPoo

    http://tinyurl.com/TamiPoo

  61. Theo Goodwin says:

    Pathway says:
    April 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm
    “Injection of used fracing fluids into deep wells has cause lubrication of fault lines and induced minor tremors. This is documented in Denver in the 60′s at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.”

    This could become a wonderful urban myth. I am sure that this is not what you meant to say. You need to check with your mentors and understand what you are supposed to say. The key phrase is “lubrication of fault lines.” You have no imagination for geology.

  62. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Rud Istvan says:
    April 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    “… the idea that fracking can cause even minor earth quakes is nonsense on a par with Mann and Marcott.”

    You need to look at “RockDoc’s” post above. Check his link. Do a little research.

    The significance of fracking induced seismic activity needs more investigation. I personally doubt that it will turn out to be problematic. But, the quote above from you is factually false. Read Doc’s post. JP

  63. wws says:

    There were a couple of these MSE’s (low intensity earthquakes) in DFW last year – remember, this is an urban area of several million people now. The newspaper report the next day after one of them said it all: “Earthquake recorded in Dallas; Several People reported feeling it.”

  64. GeoLurking says:

    Svend Ferdinandsen says:
    April 6, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Who is fracking in Iceland?
    http://en.vedur.is/#tab=skjalftar
    Must be a very big operation.

    Actually, there is fracking in Iceland. Fracking of volcanically active areas to enhance geothermal production rates. The station down around Hengill volcano occasionally shows massive swarms snaking out from the area of the facility. They have even used experimental propping agents that chemically react with the hot rock to form granules that keep the cracks open.

    I never hear anyone yammering about the dangers of doing this to a volcano that sits atop of a triple junction. (one of the most seismically active geologic features on earth)

    The large swarm going on in the Tjörnes fracture zone is unrelated… but spooky.

  65. John@EF says:

    I read this post by Anthony Watts and while I see yammering-on in a petty attack against Grant Foster re: the fracking issue, I’m thinking to myself Watt’s is really arguing against the USGS. Well, Foster has responded to this nonsense, here → http://tamino.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/who-you-gonna-believe/ … and someone got owned … and it isn’t Foster.

    REPLY: Right, that’s why he ignored Bakken again and went to plan B doubling down on Oklahoma (or was it seismic hell in Nebraska?) – look a squirrel! The fact that I got into his head is amusing, but he didn’t explain why there’s no Earthquakes in North Dakota despite all the fracking going on. – Anthony

  66. DaveA says:

    Tamino created The Perfect Spike. Linear up, linear down, no noise (error), consistent across all proxies in the world.

  67. John@EF says:

    REPLY: Right, that’s why he ignored Bakken again and went to plan B doubling down on Oklahoma (or was it seismic hell in Nebraska?) – look a squirrel! The fact that I got into his head is amusing, but he didn’t explain why there’s no Earthquakes in North Dakota despite all the fracking going on. – Anthony
    =====================
    You might consider the Bakken fracking is occurring in one of the most geologically stable regions of the USofA. The objective isn’t the petty getting “into his head”; it’s to make a point that’s worth a damn.

    REPLY: I didn’t say getting into his head was important, only that it is amusing. I did update the post above – Anthony

    [Reply: Fracking has been going on for more than fifty years, with no discernible effect on earthquake activity. If there was an effect, then by now there would be measurable evidence. But so far, there is none. — mod.]

  68. Rob Ricket says:

    “The Warming In Your Mind”

  69. Rob Ricket says:

    “Hypes In White Satin”

  70. Rob Ricket says:

    “You Lost that Warming Feeing”

  71. Eric H. says:

    Anthony I believe you played Tamino a little Nazareth Hair of the Dog

  72. Shelama says:

    [snip - snark and taunts - mod]

  73. AAPG Explorer Dec 2001: Colorado Quakes Cause Concern
    This is a good summary of the Denver Arsenal #3 (1966-68), Rangely Oil Field controlled injection experiment, a salt water control operation in the Paradox Valley Delores River, and the most recent episode in the Raton Basin.

    I think it is established that well injection CAN induce seismicity. To me, the common thread in the cases is the volume and rate of injected fluids. The Denver Rocky Mountain Arsenal #3 well took 180 million gallons in less than two years. The Raton case took about 110 million gallons in a shorter time. It is for this reason I think that high volume disposal wells used in fracking operations might be the cause of induced seismic activity. If so, the solution is to use more disposal wells over a greater area and/or recycle the fracking water.

    See comments in More Fracking Nonsense About Earthquakes (WUWT Aug 10, 2012) for more references and discussion about Denver and Raton.

  74. Justthinkin says:

    You know, these eco-cultists remind me of Yogi Berra (no offense Mr.Berra)

    When you come to a fork in the road,take it.

  75. atheok says:

    Tamino believes that miniscule amounts of wet material forcefully injected into the earth is causing massive amounts of solid continental crust to violently move and cause quakes…

    That’s like a flea causing an elephants skin to rip with a single bite.

    Now if the material add sufficient lubricity to a fault under tension and the tension is released; then that is darn good news! Studies in California have identified that where the major faults slip without trouble than minor earthquakes are normal and rarely damage. It’s where the faults get stuck and tension builds until the earth ‘fracks’ from the pressure and a major earthquake occurs.

    If Tamino is proving that a little lube goes a long way to averting earthquake disasters, then that’s terrific.

    Sorry Tamino, all your effort does is prove how good fracking is for mother earth.

  76. Skiphil says:

    URGENT on Marcott study:

    Andy Revkin of Dot Earth/NY Times blog is inviting questions to be submitted to the authors of Marcott et al. (2013). Since Revkin is one of the only journalists who might have a chance of getting the study authors to be responsive, this is a good opportunity.

    Specifically, he’s asked for someone to prepare one list of questions which are “perceived as unanswered.”

    Folks could start a list here at WUWT to post at Dot Earth, or simply post questions/points at Dot Earth until we have a good list.

    submit questions on Marcott study to Dot Earth/NY Times blog

    Andy Revkin Dot Earth blogger

    I’d like to recruit someone to assemble the list of questions that are perceived as unanswered.

    April 6, 2013 at 4:43 p.m

  77. lurker passing through, laughing says:

    Tamino is rapidly becoming a rather sorry impersonator of Peter Gleick.

  78. Rick says:

    Edele’s song: ‘I set fire to the brain’ Titanic song: ‘My heat will go on’
    Townsend’s: ‘I can’t explain’, Shania’s ‘That don’t impress me much’

  79. ggoodknight says:

    It is quite likely that E. Grant Foster, whose education is a great unknown, has never taken a college physics or chemistry class.

  80. PiperPaul says:

    There are only two types of people in the world:
    Those who know, those who think they know and those who say, “let’s check this out a little longer.”
    And then there are the mathematically-challenged.
    The phenomenon that has been happening is the awestruck uninformed perceived outrage about artificial big numbers.

  81. alcheson says:

    IF fracking causes very minor earthquakes, why is that automatically bad?? Fracking may actually be good if it causes very minor earthquakes. Much better to have hundreds of very small earthquakes rather than one huge one. The BIG ONE is building up here in CA, if we could release the stress on a daily basis with a lot of magnitude 1-3 earthquakes rather than let all that stress buildup until it release a magnitude 8+, wouldn’t it be much better…especially if we could recover $1,000,000,000,000 worth of oil at the same time?

  82. barry says:

    I’ll believe the data, and the data says there are NOT swarms of Earthquakes in the Bakken formation, but there are some in Oklahoma. This difference is an issue, and he’s offered no explanation for this conundrum.

    The ‘explanation’ is inherent in the Mother Jones article Tamino cites. One of the points the MJ article makes is that drilling sites should be tested for seismic risk. That’s the difference – the seismic risk in one area is different to another. That ‘explanation’ is quite easily found by reading the originating article.

    Skepticism points out the holes in a hypothesis. Good science then seeks to address the issues raised to see if there are answers. We almost get there in the top article.

    It may simply be that some areas are more sensitive than others

    But does the author investigate? No. So I did. Three minutes googling revealed that North Dakota, where Bakken is concentrated, is one of 4 US states with no documented fault lines.

    The top article goes on;

    or some processes are better than others

    The MJ article specifically mentions that a better method may include pumping less water, and records practises that may mitigate the risks. Nowhere in the MJ article is there any talk of banning fracking. Or in Tamino’s article.

    but it certainly doesn’t suggest that all fracking and its byproduct wastewater injection causes earthquakes as activists would like you to believe.

    The last phrase of the sentence

    1) creates a straw man (by ignoring – or didn’t read carefully enough?) that the areas of interest are where there are fault lines nearby. 10 miles was one suggested limit.

    2) Devolves into politics.

    Here is an opportunity for further enquiry on the subject, rather than merely a rhetorical rebuttal or any kind of advocacy, which the top article concludes with;

    Well I believe fracking, like any process, has some risks, and the benefits far outweigh the highly publicized events used as political tools.

    No such advocacy on fracking/ban fracking is found in the Tamino or Mother Jones article. Tamino’s post specifically addresses the industry claim that there is ‘no evidence’ that fracking can cause Earthquakes. There is certainly evidence. And that is the limit of Tamino’s comments.

    Don’t have time to read the studies linked for the next couple of days. Do they specify seismic-risk areas?

  83. rogerknights says:

    PiperPaul says:
    April 6, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    There are only two types of people in the world:
    Those who know, those who think they know and those who say, “let’s check this out a little longer.”

    Here’s one I like, from Sir William Gull:

    “Savages and fools believe; wise men investigate.”

  84. Mailman says:

    Foster is an angry little man isn’t he?

    You have to wonder what event makes people so bitter and twisted like this little bloke?

    Regards

    Mailman

  85. Mailman says:

    Barry,

    http://lifesecure.typepad.com/.a/6a010536a57ad4970c01538e6e8f1b970b-popup

    Interesting that there is a band that runs through the spin of North America where there are few known fault lines and little recorded seismic activity…one of them of course being Fosters area of interest.

    Of course being a real scientist I’m sure Foster explored fully all possible explanations during his investigation in an effort to understand fully why various things are happening.

    Yes…of course he did that..

    BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :)

    Finally, lets not forget that the vast majority of these so called micro earth quakes are undetectable to humans.

    Regards

    Mailman

  86. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    ‘I also believe I’ll go fill up my gas tank and turn on my natural gas powered fireplace. – Anthony”

    Any warm-mongers out there who don’t use gasoline in their cars or gas heating when required? No? Thought not.

  87. Dave the Engineer says:

    I would think it would be a good thing to have minor tremors to relieve the stress in a fault line as opposed to a major slippage creating a damaging earthquake. Maybe we should frack along the San Andreas.

  88. barry says:

    Mailman,

    Great seismic map.

    Interesting that there is a band that runs through the spin of North America where there are few known fault lines and little recorded seismic activity…one of them of course being Fosters area of interest.

    The area is medium risk, which is apposite for the study. High-risk areas would have more noisy data, making it difficult to pick out any trends.

    The author of the article here is comparing two areas without considering whether there is a different geology. There is. One is virtually zero-risk of seismic activity (Bakken), while the other carries a medium risk (Tamino’s focus). Tamino’s point is that there is statistical evidence that fracking and Earthquakes are related, contrary to industry rejection of that possibility, which itself is contrary to scientific studies on the matter.

    The possibility that fracking causes earthquakes in unstable areas is worthy of further study, and perhaps some precautionary changes in procedure (like assessing the are for seismic risk, pumping less wastewater) might be advisable until there is more certainy (either way) on the matter.

    REPLY: Sorry, your logic fails. Foster asked a general blanket question with no caveats “Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?”. He didn’t qualify his question with geological stability or geography. Like most activists he’s pushing the “all fracking is bad” idea, much like Josh Fox did in “Gasland”. – Anthony

  89. barry says:

    Any warm-mongers out there who don’t use gasoline in their cars or gas heating when required? No? Thought not.

    I smoke cigarettes. I have no trouble advising people that smoking can injure their health.

    Is my advice wrong because I don’t take it myself? No.

    Am I a hypocrite? No. I’m just addicted to cigarettes.

    REPLY: And gasoline, and natural gas (Unless of course you can “quit at any time”) – Anthony

  90. chrisd3 says:

    “It stands to reason that with this much fracking going on in the biggest oil boom region in the USA in a short and recent time span, surely there must be some seismic effects as a result of it.”

    Why? Doesn’t it really “stand to reason” that fracking might have different consequences in regions if they are geologically dissimilar? Did you investigate the geology of North Dakota as opposed to, say, Oklahoma? Or are you simply assuming that there’s no difference?

    REPLY: Did Foster investigate North Dakota, No. Did Foster investigate geologic differences, No. Did Foster ask a general blanket question with no caveats “Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?” Yes.

    Of course I’m the bad one. Riiiight.

    - Anthony

  91. Oscar Bajner says:

    Bob Dylan composed a song for the occasion:

    Subterranean Hockeystick Blues

    Frakken in the Bakken
    Frakken in the Bakken
    There was frack all else to do.

  92. _Jim says:

    Dave the Engineer says April 7, 2013 at 4:13 am

    I would think it would be a good thing to have minor tremors to relieve the stress in a fault line as opposed to a major slippage creating a damaging earthquake. Maybe we should frack along the San Andreas.

    I think most rational, objective and knowledgeable individuals with technical backgrounds have this same thought.

    Those prone to emotional, knee-jerk reactions based on mistaken assumptions or falling for presentations by hucksters playing to an audiences’s gullibility not so much …

    Eyewitness accounts to the New Madrid Earthquake reported the ground nearly becoming liquid and accompanied by a sulphurous smell that would seem to also lend credence to theory that the release of sub-surface under-pressure gasses (including hydrocarbons) may reduce the amount of damage that will result from the oft-foretold ‘next big one’.

    As a matter of fact, I was nose-witness to a tremor centered at New Madrid back in the yr 2000 timeframe … I noted the distinct smell of Sulfur Dioxide at my locale before I was made aware of the occurrence of the quake …

    .

  93. Kebin says:

    “Saturday Silliness: Tamino aka Grant Foster fracks himself”

    I don’t want to brag, but I own an 1980′s pair of Foster Grant sunglasses.

  94. Mark Bofill says:

    barry says:
    April 7, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Any warm-mongers out there who don’t use gasoline in their cars or gas heating when required? No? Thought not.

    I smoke cigarettes. I have no trouble advising people that smoking can injure their health.

    Is my advice wrong because I don’t take it myself? No.

    Am I a hypocrite? No. I’m just addicted to cigarettes.

    REPLY: And gasoline, and natural gas (Unless of course you can “quit at any time”) – Anthony
    —————-
    You know, this touches on a point I think is important. The analogous question I really care about is this, do you therefore advocate government intervention to drive cigarette prices up and discourage people from smoking? I submit that at this point one does indeed become a hypocrite, or worse.

  95. Jim G says:

    I Can’t Stop Lying to You,
    I’ve made up my mind,
    to live in mendacity,
    all the lonesome time.

    I can’t stop wanting lies,
    it’s useless to try,
    so i’ll just make stuff up,
    to support all my lies.

    Those happy days,
    when grants come in,
    I just can’t wait,
    though I know it’s a sin,

    they say that time,
    heals a broken prediction,
    but time has stood still,
    for the last sixteen years.

  96. Mark Bofill says:

    Mark Bofill says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    April 7, 2013 at 8:18 am
    ———–
    Bleh I’m sorry, getting off topic. Feel free to snip.

  97. chrisd3 says:

    Anthony, the point is that you are apparently assuming that there is no risk because there was no increase in activity in North Dakota. That is not a valid assumption, because they are geologically quite different. What Tamino did or did not do is wholly irrelevant to that.

  98. Vince Causey says:

    Earthquakes are caused by one plate sliding over another, which is the inevitable result of the small, but relentless process of plate tectonics. It should be obvious that mining operations have nothing to do with this.

    While it is possible that fracking can cause minor tremors due to fracturing rock, this is not the same as an earthquake. Could fracking cause boundary plates to suddenly slide? Maybe, but the plates would have slid anyway, and if this occurs early due to fracking, it would result in a smaller quake than would have otherwise occurred if stresses were allowed to build up. It is illogical to suggest that fracking causes earthquakes out of nothing.

  99. Mark Bofill says:

    chrisd3 says:
    April 7, 2013 at 5:21 am

    REPLY: Did Foster investigate North Dakota, No. Did Foster investigate geologic differences, No. Did Foster ask a general blanket question with no caveats “Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?” Yes.
    —-
    It’s all part of post normal science Anthony; the burden of demonstrating a thorough methodology rests squarely on the skeptic these days. /sarc?

  100. chrisd3 says:

    @Mark Bofill:

    Ah, the “Timmy did it too” excuse. Given that North Dakota and Oklahoma are geologically quite different, assuming that fracking is safe because there has been no increase in seismic activity in North Dakota is unwarranted. What Tamino did or did not do is wholly irrelevant to that.

  101. TwelfthMan says:

    Anthony, Re: Frolich (2012), you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role that statistical tests play in testing hypotheses. To put Frolich’s conclusions concisely, their work fails to reject the null hypothesis of no correlation. This does not mean that there is no correlation (in fact there is almost certainly some relationship), but that for the particular data they used, their statistical test was not sufficiently powerful to capture the nature of the relationship (if any). Their results have no bearing on the other studies insofar as they use different methods and data, so it is really quite an extraordinary job of cherry picking you’ve done to highlight one study with a negative result out of many with positive results, as Tamino has pointed out.

    In the particular case in question, you also fail to recognize the crucial role of long observations (such as the enormous USGS archive used by Tamino) in examining this relationship. Frolich examined two datasets: one from the usual National Earthquake Center, and a brief, high resolution set from the region of Texas which was monitored during intensive shale fracking. While the latter data show a large increase in earthquakes of all magnitudes compared with the NEC data, this is expected a priori when sampling a region so densely. Thus Frolich does not show that ‘despite a large increase in earthquakes, they are not caused by fracking in this part of Texas’. Instead, he simply shows that high sampling density will get you more data for more events, but that a short period of observation is insufficient to identify any trends. The virtue of using long, homogeneous timeseries is shown very clearly in Tamino’s analyses.

    REPLY: Oh, good job of obfuscation there. OK if long time series has value, and fracking has been around and in use in Oklahoma since 1949, explain then why there are no other events that climb out of the noise as Tamino’s analysis suggests. If long time series has a value, he should plot back to 1949 to look at all of the data. Tamino’s premise was general, asking a broad question. “Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes” and no caveats/qualifiers were given. I maintain that not all fracking causes Earthquakes, some probably does cause some earthquakes as the Royal society paper points out, and of the events that can be reasonably correlated, they don’t rise to the level of concern. Cite statistical tests all you want, but the real issue is whether any of this is worth worrying about as activists would like us to. For them, trying to prove that all fracking causes Earthquakes is simply a path to gain a political tool to use to shut down energy production. Its a ruse for the the uninformed to swallow.

    I no more worry about fracking sized earthquakes than I do the occasional rumbles I get from low planes flying overhead that shake the windows at my office (near the airport) or the rumbles I get from the semi-trucks that travel the major road a mere 50 feet from my office. I suggest others shouldn’t either. – Anthony

  102. JimF says:

    chrisd3 says:
    April 7, 2013 at 9:26 am: “…That is not a valid assumption, because they are geologically quite different….” Says who? You? Or do you have a couple of USGS Professional Papers or somesuch describing the creation, lithology and structural geology of the two shale basins we’re discussing here (Oklahoma and ND)? Otherwise you’re just waving your arms and obfuscating.

  103. TwelfthMan says:

    This is not a question of worrying or not worrying; it is purely academic. I view the recent increase in fracking as a nearly ideal experiment, wherein we have a big, controlled and documented change in a candidate predictor variable. Previously, fracking was so small-scale that one could never hope to find a signal. Activists may choose to take up the issue or not, but for those of us who are impartially evaluating the issue, it is best to steer clear of preconceived notions about cause and effect, or attitudes good and bad. Besides, I don’t think that anyone is really concerned about M3 earthquakes. In fact my gut feeling would be that gradual relaxation via smaller slip events would be advantageous from the perspective of preventing larger events. While Tamino’s post is headlined as “Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes,” this is a reference to the Mother Jones article. And the post concludes with an open — if pointed — question.

    As for why earlier data were not used, I’m not sure where you get 1949 from. The USGS source notes that “This search currently contains data starting on January 1st, 1973 to the present.” So there may be older data, but it’s not accessible at the moment. Most likely, those data are not spatially complete over the pre-1973 period, so it would still make sense to use the most recent interval. If you’re particularly interested in a region which has older data, by all means replicate the analysis over the full period. I would be interested in the results.

    REPLY: Sorry, but no. The question of whether fracking is purely academic or not became moot when fracking was turned into a political change tool by the left.

    And you illustrate a good point about dates, spatially incomplete data prior to 1973. One of the issues I wondered about was how much of these small earthquakes went unrecorded in the past dues to greater distances to seismic recorders. With the advent of modern well distributed seismic networks, such as the one deployed in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Seismic Network, operated by the University of Oklahoma, the idea that fracking is causing more earthquakes now may simply be an artifact of better sampling.

    For example, the Quake Catcher Network http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2969

    …will do for earthquakes what storm hcasers have done for storms, and create a reporting bias for smaller quakes, just like the extra eyes did for small F0-F1 tornadoes.

    Again, not worth worrying about unless you are an activist looking to make political tools.

    - Anthony

  104. chrisd3 says:

    @JimF: “Says who? You?”

    No, says the United States Geological Service. You could look it up.

  105. JimF says:

    chrisd3 says:
    April 7, 2013 at 11:50 am: No, you give us the citations.

  106. Mark Bofill says:

    chrisd3 says:
    April 7, 2013 at 9:47 am

    @Mark Bofill:

    Ah, the “Timmy did it too” excuse. Given that North Dakota and Oklahoma are geologically quite different, assuming that fracking is safe because there has been no increase in seismic activity in North Dakota is unwarranted. What Tamino did or did not do is wholly irrelevant to that.
    ——————-
    Chrisd3, What Tamino did or did not do is wholly relevant. The title of the blog article is Saturday Silliness: Tamino aka Grant Foster fracks himself, this should clue you in. I couldn’t decide if I was joking or not in my original post (the /sarc? tag), but clearly I should have been serious.

    Listen carefully. The burden of proof does not rest on the skeptic. When refuting claims which do not consider a factor such as geological differences in the first place, it is wholly improper to discount an argument against the original claim because it does not satisfy a criteria that the original claim failed to meet in the first place. In other words, take it to Grant Foster, not Anthony Watts.

  107. Chuck Nolan says:

    How about “Your Cheatin’ Chart”
    cn

  108. Chuck Nolan says:

    Mike Smith says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    Anthony, Anthony: Fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes. Global warming causes earthquakes! Didn’t you know that?!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/07/guardian-global-warming-to-trigger-earthquakes-tsunamis-avalanches-and-volcanic-eruptions/
    http://tucsoncitizen.com/wryheat/2012/02/29/is-global-warming-causing-more-earthquakes/
    ————————-
    Yes Anthony, we know you’re busy but please keep up.
    /sarc
    cn

  109. chrisd3 says:

    @Mark: I didn’t say a word about Tamino. What I’m saying has nothing at all to do with Tamino or his post. It has entirely to do with what Anthony did, which was to make an unwarranted assumption: He assumes, apparently, that if fracking/wastewater injection doesn’t cause seismicity in North Dakota, then it can’t do so anywhere. That’s a bad assumption because not everyplace is North Dakota. Geology differs from place to place.

    This is unrelated to anything Tamino said. It wouldn’t make any difference if Tamino’s post had never existed. My comment was not a defense of Tamino’s post.

    Is this really that hard to grasp?

  110. chrisd3 says:

    @JimF: I spent a half hour this morning looking at a number of sources about the geology of North Dakota and Oklahoma. They are different. I’m not going to go back through all that stuff again. You can do it yourself if you want to. Otherwise, don’t.

    The fact is, it doesn’t make any difference to my comment. The point is that you just can’t say “If this doesn’t cause seismicity at location X, then it can’t cause seismicity anywhere.” That doesn’t follow. Geology differs from one place to another.

  111. Mark Bofill says:

    Chris- I realize that apparently in your view, since you are not talking about Foster’s post you fail to understand what it’s got to do with anything. The rest of us poor benightened fools who do not realize that you are the center of the universe quite naturally see it differently. Specifically, we note that Anthony was posting on Tamino in response to an argument put forward by Tamino. Come down from Planet Chris and think about it from the perspective of us peons, and maybe you’ll understand the problem.

  112. barry says:

    Am I a hypocrite? No. I’m just addicted to cigarettes.

    REPLY: And gasoline, and natural gas (Unless of course you can “quit at any time”) – Anthony
    —————-
    You know, this touches on a point I think is important. The analogous question I really care about is this, do you therefore advocate government intervention to drive cigarette prices up and discourage people from smoking? I submit that at this point one does indeed become a hypocrite, or worse.

    If I tell another smoker that smoking is bad for me and bad for them too, it’s not hypocrisy. If I support government intervention on smoking (I don’t), and I still smoke, that is not hypocritical either. Hypocrisy is a feigned moral position. If I say that I would never allow smoking in my house, but I myself smoke in my house, then I’m being hypocritical. The charge is often levelled against Christians – If you sin, then you can’t be a Christian, and obviously are pretending to believe in God.

    The meaning of the word is often stretched beyond its limits by people who simply want to criticise. It has a specific meaning, born from the Greek word ‘to pretend’, and alludes to people who try to set themselves on a higher moral pedastal by espousing beliefs they do not actually hold.

    n. One who assumes a false appearance; one who feigns to be what he is not, or to feel or believe what he does not actually feel or believe; especially, a false pretender to virtue or piety.
    n. Synonyms Dissembler, Hypocrite (see dissembler); Pharisee, formalist, cheat.

    n. One who plays a part; especially, one who, for the purpose of winning approbation of favor, puts on a fair outside seeming; one who feigns to be other and better than he is; a false pretender to virtue or piety; one who simulates virtue or piety.

    http://www.wordnik.com/words/hypocrite

    I’d be a hypocrite if I said I use no fossil fuels, but actually did.

  113. Mark Bofill says:

    barry says:
    April 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    … If I support government intervention on smoking (I don’t), and I still smoke, that is not hypocritical either. Hypocrisy is a feigned moral position. …The meaning of the word is often stretched beyond its limits by people who simply want to criticise….
    ———-
    Actually, I said, ‘hypocrite or worse’, and I suspect you missed my thrust. If you presume to rule others in a matter where you will not even rule yourself, you are at best a hypocrite. Hypocrisy in this case does indeed presume that the hypocrite has enough grasp of reality, right and wrong, etc. to at least feel shame for his actions and endeavor to hide them and pretend, however, doubtless sociopaths exist who would unabashedly assert that no rule proper for anyone else should possibly be applied to them.

  114. JimF says:

    chrisd3 says:
    April 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm: “…Geology differs from one place to another….” Really? Me being a geologist, I know that. Now you came here and said that Anthony is wrong because the USGS says the geology is different. If you have a paper with a title such as “Comparison of contrasting depositional environments in the X and Y sedimentary basins”, then fine. Post the link. If you have two papers, for example “Structural and sedimentological development of the X Basin” and another of similar title concerning the Y Basin, then post the links and tell us your geological reasons for making the statement. Otherwise, you’re just throwing BS. Based on your other posts, you are just flinging poo.

  115. chrisd3 says:

    @JimF: You continue to miss the point. Here it is, one final time: The fact that tracking/injection did not increase seismic activity in location X does not mean that fracking/injection can’t increase seismic activity anywhere, regardless of its geology. That is just not a valid assumption.

    I really do not understand how you, as a geologist, can dispute this honestly.

  116. troglodyt says:

    Good grief. This whole exchange is simply ridiculous given that both Tamino and Watts are probably in agreement about what is the case concerning the relationship between earthquakes and fracking. It’s a great exercise in nitpicking.

  117. CJ Drummoski says:

    [snip - juvenile snark - mod]

  118. CJ Drummoski says:

    [snip - posts written in "baby talk" can be better applied here

    Further, we wonder if as an employee of the Ford Motor Company, your superiors are aware of how you are using their network resources, -mod]

  119. barry says:

    Actually, I said, ‘hypocrite or worse’, and I suspect you missed my thrust. If you presume to rule others in a matter where you will not even rule yourself, you are at best a hypocrite. Hypocrisy in this case does indeed presume that the hypocrite has enough grasp of reality, right and wrong, etc. to at least feel shame for his actions and endeavor to hide them and pretend, however, doubtless sociopaths exist who would unabashedly assert that no rule proper for anyone else should possibly be applied to them.

    Well, in some fabled land I can imagine myself with super powers that enable me to ‘rule’ people, and then exempt myself from those rules. I guess we might find a case for some kind of hypocrisy there.

    You seem to imply that anyone is a hypocrite if they advocate change in a system while living under the system they wish to change. It’s ludicrous. A person who fervently believes a too-big government should receive less tax revenue from its constituents, but still pays the tax they think is too much, is a hypocrite?

    You said:

    The analogous question I really care about is this, do you therefore advocate government intervention to drive cigarette prices up and discourage people from smoking? I submit that at this point one does indeed become a hypocrite, or worse.

    If the government regulations apply equally to my cigarettes, and I accept that, then there is no hypocrisy in it. I may not be acting in the best interests of my addiction (well, good for me!), but this is not remotely hypocrisy.

    Hypocrisy is about pretending to a moral virtue. I smoke, I use fossil fuels. Advocating against their use is not hypocrisy unless I pretend that I don’t touch the stuff. I’m not playing holier than thou – which is where hypocrisy comes into it.

    One who plays a part; especially, one who, for the purpose of winning approbation of favor, puts on a fair outside seeming; one who feigns to be other and better than he is; a false pretender to virtue or piety; one who simulates virtue or piety.

    You can have the last word. this is way off-topic.

  120. barry says:

    Sorry, but no. The question of whether fracking is purely academic or not became moot when fracking was turned into a political change tool by the left.

    If you’d limited yourself to political comments I would not have been interested in commenting here. But you attempted some analysis and people questioned it – which is what I think is the best thing about these blogs. If you want to sideline the politics (I’d back you 100% on this), then encourage those people who make sensible comments on data and analysis, whether or not they agree with you.

    Serious question: is your main motivation with WUWT political or scientific in character?

    REPLY: Fracking has elements that are scientific and political mixed nearly every day in news stories, yet you complain about this combination here? Read the header, that’s the stated scope. Surely you must understand this by now. – Anthony

  121. Mark Bofill says:

    barry says:
    April 8, 2013 at 7:13 am
    ——–
    :) It is way off topic. Look, I think you’re overcomplicating a simple idea. If you choose to smoke, and advocate for that choice to be taken away (and please, lets not equivocate on this point; this is really what government measures are intended to accomplish) for everyone, then there is something fundamentally wrong with your position. One of the possibilities is hypocrisy. One of the more benign possibilities.

  122. barry says:

    REPLY: Fracking has elements that are scientific and political mixed nearly every day in news stories, yet you complain about this combination here?

    I try to separate political spin from substance wherever I read. Science is always muddied by political commentary, and it seems you don’t approve of that, same as me. Your continuing this combination would seem counter-productive – unless your chief aim is political in nature. I thought it would be a good idea to ask you directly. I think I have your answer, indirectly.

    I’m still chielfy interested in correlation of seismic events with fracking processes, taking into account the geology, proximity to fault lines, the seismic risk of those fault lines, proximity of drilling operations, timing of seismic activity relative to drilling operations and wastewater pumping, and time series analysis that takes these things into account. In two days I will have time to read the studies to see if these things have been assessed (working two jobs at the moment). Perhaps you or one of the regulars could write a post on it, focussing just on the science.

  123. E.M.Smith says:

    Um, as I live in “Quake Country” I’ve had a lot of them. I remember some 5.x and 6.x and the one 7.1 we had was a pretty good roller… but below 5? Sorry. Don’t even rattle the windows enough to notice. Down in 1 to 2 land, we’re talking about like a truck driving down the street a block away. A seismograph can detect it, but not a person. So, anyone have any idea how many of those 1 ish sized quakes ARE trucks?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_magnitude_scale

    Less than 2.0 Micro Microearthquakes, not felt, or felt rarely by sensitive people. Recorded by seismographs. Continual/several million per year
    2.0–2.9 Minor Felt slightly by some people. No damage to buildings. Over one million per year

    So we’re talking about things that most folks can’t feel at all, that are either “continual” or in the millions a year.

    Somehow I’m not worried…

    And is it just me, or the Tammimann reference to Nebraska not match the map? HIS map, looks to me, like Nebraska isn’t doing much at all. Is he having trouble keeping Oklahoma and Nebraska straight?

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