Dallas earthquake not caused by fracking… And neither was the Ohio quake.

Guest post by David Middleton

Wow! I woke up Friday morning to news that a 2.0 Md earthquake struck about a mile and a half from my office. I was sleeping at home, about 7 miles from the epicenter, and it didn’t even wake me up. Thirty years as an exploration geophysicist, and I sleep right through my first earthquake!

That morning, I arrived at work and found my office in total disarray – So the quake didn’t do any damage…

Figure 1. Dallas earthquake location and details (USGS)

Now… I have yet to hear any journalists, politicians or college professors link this quake to fracking… But I figure they will. So I’ll just preemptively shoot that bit of junk science down. Fracking can trigger extremely minor earthquakes. A 2.0 Md quake is in the realm of possibilities. However, there aren’t any active wells within a 5 km radius (Davis et al., 1995) of this particular quake.

Figure 2. Evil Barnett Shale Play and Dallas earthquake. (Texas Railroad Commission and USGS)

Now that I’ve preemptively debunked that bit of junk science, let’s go to Ohio. Every morning I like to check the Real Clear Energy website. It’s a nice compendium of energy news and also includes a fair bit of AGW nonsense. So it’s often a good source for blogging material. Well, this bit of nonsense caught my eye…

Figure 3. Real Clear Energy

So, I clicked the link to the Scientific American article and this is what I saw…

Figure 4. Not very Scientific American

At least they had the scientific integrity to mention that the quake was likely triggered by the wastewater injection well and not actually triggered by the fracking.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey recently examined (Holland, 2011) the possible relationship between a swarm of micro-quakes and a fracking operation in Garvin County OK. They concluded that the fracking could have triggered the 1.0 to 2.8 Md temblors. However, the quakes were so insignificant that it was almost impossible to precisely locate the hypocenters. The quakes could have been within 5 km of a fracking operation, they could have been small enough to have been triggered by the fracking operation and they occurred right after one fracking operation. However, the area has frequent seismicity of similar magnitude and no other fracking operations in the field’s 60+ year history have been correlated with induced seismicity.

Figure 5. Southern Oklahoma Earthquakes from 1897-2010 (modified from Holland, 2011)

After a bit of modeling, Holland was able to place the hypocenters of the temblors along a fault, within 5 km of an active fracking operation.

Figure 6. A possibly fracking-related earthquake swarm (modified from Holland, 2011)

Holland’s conclusion was that there was a 50-50 chance that these micro-quakes were triggered by the fracking operation in the Picket Unit B Well 4-18.

Figure 7. Holland's conclusion (Holland, 2011)

One person reported feeling these quakes. Md 1.0 to 2.8 quakes are Category I on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale

Figure 8. Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (USGS).

You have to get up to more than Md 3.5 before quakes deliver “vibrations similar to the passing of a truck.” The non-palpable seismicity that might result from fracking is less than that of a seismic crew shooting a survey. Fracking can’t cause larger quakes…

Oklahoma Earthquakes Stronger Than Fracking Tremors, Experts Say

By SETH BORENSTEIN and JONATHAN FAHEY 11/ 7/11

WASHINGTON — Thousands of times every day, drilling deep underground causes the earth to tremble. But don’t blame the surprise flurry of earthquakes in Oklahoma on man’s thirst for oil and gas, experts say.

The weekend quakes were far stronger than the puny tremors from drilling – especially the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing.

[…]

The magnitude-5.6 quake that rocked Oklahoma three miles underground had the power of 3,800 tons of TNT, which is nearly 2,000 times stronger than the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The typical energy released in tremors triggered by fracking, “is the equivalent to a gallon of milk falling off the kitchen counter,” said Stanford University geophysicist Mark Zoback.

In Oklahoma, home to 185,000 drilling wells and hundreds of injection wells, the question of man-made seismic activity comes up quickly. But so far, federal, state and academic experts say readings show that the Oklahoma quakes were natural, following the lines of a long-known fault.

“There’s a fault there,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle. “You can have an earthquake that size anywhere east of the Rockies. You don’t need a huge fault to produce an earthquake that big. It’s uncommon, but not unexpected.”

[…]

In the past, earthquakes have been linked to energy exploration and production, including from injections of enormous amounts of drilling wastewater or injections of water for geothermal power, experts said. They point to recent earthquakes in the magnitude 3 and 4 range – not big enough to cause much damage, but big enough to be felt – in Arkansas, Texas, California, England, Germany and Switzerland. And back in the 1960s, two Denver quakes in the 5.0 range were traced to deep injection of wastewater.

[…]

Holland, who has documented some of the biggest shaking associated with fracking, compared a man-made earthquake to a mosquito bite. “It’s really quite inconsequential,” he said.

Hydraulic fracturing has been practiced for decades but it has grown rapidly in recent years as drillers have learned to combine it with horizontal drilling to tap enormous reserves of natural gas and oil in the United States.

About 5 million gallons of fluid is used to fracture a typical well. That’s typically not nearly enough weight and pressure to cause more than a tiny tremor.

Earlier this year, Holland wrote a report about a different flurry of Oklahoma quakes last January – the strongest a 2.8 magnitude – that seemed to occur with hydraulic fracturing. Holland said it was a 50-50 chance that the gas drilling technique caused the tremors

[…]

AP

So… Fracking can’t cause significant earthquakes and Seth Borenstein can actually write an article without parroting the alarmists.

References and Further Reading

Davis, S.D., P.A. Nyffenegger & C. Frolich. The 9 April 1993 Earthquake in South-Central Texas: Was It Induced by Fluid Withdrawal? Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. Vol. 85, No, 6. pp. 1888-1895, December 1995.

Frolich, C. & E. Potter. Dallas-Forth Worth earthquakes coincident with activity associated with natural gas production. The Leading Edge. Vol. 29, No. 3. pp. 270-275, March 2010.

Holland, A. Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma. Oklahoma Geological Survey Open-File Report OF1-2011. August 2011.

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Brad

Well, I guess I will have to go with the real scientists. In general fracking does not cause significant quakes, but it is new and has not been well studied and in certain geologic formations it may, and probably does.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/us/05fracking.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/us/06earthquake.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/03/01/fracking-earthquakes-arkansas-man-experts-warn/

SSam

Cool.
If you please… one question. (Of sorts)
The Guy AR swarm is the reason that the AOGC restricted disposal well operations in that area. The majority of these quakes form a beautiful fan dropping down below 10 km, and the majority of them are about 8 to 9 km deep, well below (no pun) the operating depth of the sites in that area.
Any idea why? (Or is it just a PR move… in your opinion)

Brad
Brad

A study showing Barnett Shale waste injection wells as a “plausible cause” for earthquakes:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100310134158.htm

Andrew30

I recall that at one time people were considering ‘drilling and lubricting’ major fault lines so that there would be a lot of small movements (no damage) rather than a few, or one, large movement (massive damage).
The earth is going to move no matter what, the only question is how often, not how far over time.
Even if there are many small movements that are facilitated by drilling and lubrication, is that a bad thing?
Perhaps one should point out that multiple minor movements are a good thing in the long term.

John Marshall

Very interesting. We have the occasional quake in the UK and the last, 4,2, was from a completely unknown fault about 5km below the surface according to BGS. We obviously can’t know every fault and earthquake forecasting is not yet possible so quakes will happen with no notice. It is also possible that seismic monitoring has improved over the years and the number of monitoring stations increased so these small quakes have nowhere to hide.

R.S.Brown

David,
I’m not sure what the maps of the Eola field wells or even the Ohio Barnett
Shale wells has to do with the 4.0 Youngstown/Warren quake we had a few
weeks ago.
This area of Northeastern Ohio has a modern history of minor quakes
associated with the faults around the edge of the NE Ohio block that’s
still undergoing rebound “lifting” from the last glaciation.
These small faults are only partially mapped out… but their trend and
extentions are fairly “well” known.
The Ohio quake was attributed not directly to “fracking” wells, but to not quite-
so-deep deep brine and drilling waste wells in the immediate waste-well area in
the poorly defined fault zone.
We’ve had shakes along this series of small faults since I was a kid here in Ohio
in the 1950s.
Our little 4.0 quake says nothing one way or the other about the practice
of fracking.

Richard of NZ

It must have been caused by frakking. Just like the one I felt this morning http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/3640598g.html. Oh, hang on, there is no frakking in New Zealand. It must then have been caused by the geothermal steam extraction for the power station, or perhaps by the requirement for the reinjection of geothermal condensate. Horrible things these carbon free energy stations.
Of course it is most likely that being in a seismically active area has something to do with the quake. It is time for the government to start taxing us heavily to prevent earthquakes, after-all we have seen how destructive they can be recently e.g. Christchurch and Japan.

Alan the Brit

Very interesting post, educational & informative, thank you!
However, when you have the warmista mentallity of Agenda 21, any quake, regardless of how small, that might, just, possibly, potentially, may, could be linked in any way whatsoever to fracking, is a no no! Gaia was scratched & you hurt her! It’s a lose lose situation in many ways.

And, I was sure Global Warming caused those earthquakes…

TFNJ

Surely a series of micro quakes will relieve pressure buildup that would oterwise generate a larger quake later?
So fracking reduces the occurrence of quakes that mightv actually cause damage?

Congrats on your first shaking. It can be quite an experience!
I’ve never understood why the technique of fracking is more likely to cause quakes than traditional oil drilling. After all, the traditional method involves a considerable exchange of fluids and pressures between the surface and the sands. Lots of mud and water goes down, and hopefully lots of oil comes up. When you consider the THOUSANDS of wells that have been drilled, pumped and abandoned in Oklahoma and Texas over the last hundred years, and the scarcity of even small quakes during those years, it’s not a very good correlation.

Bloke down the pub

That won’t stop the dipstick we’ve got in charge of UK energy policy from using it as an excuse to ban fracking in favour of windmills.

Louis Hooffstetter

Great article: factual, informative, and unbiased (despite your evil oil connection). These kinds of articles help the general public see that anti-fracking misinformation (like the ‘Gasland’ mockumentary) is just a scare tactic put out by people who dislike all forms of carbon based energy.

You have probably slept through a few 0.1 M earthquakes. Magnitude 2 earthquake- who cares- it’ll have to get up 3 to noticeable- they probably do some good by releasing some earth stresses. Humans can’t cause real earthquakes (the surface equivalents happen all the time during construction and traffic accidents etc) maybe initiate earthquakes but not induce massive stresses in massive pieces of rock kilometres underground. The oil and gas search industry during better geoscience than the all the deep earth researchers put together (they know remote sensing isn’t worth anything by itself).

An EXCELLENT example of how sound judgement and reasonable science can triumph after all. Well written, sir.
http://starwarsawakening.wordpress.com

bikermailman

Quite a few of minor (under 4.5) quakes have happened in the last couple of years, in the Snyder, Texas, and Ralls, Texas areas, and there are oil wells in BOTH AREAS! O Noes! Oh wait, they aren’t using fraking near there…never mind. 😀

klem

Boy its nice to hear some Geo trained people speak up about this issue. The alarmists seem to be the ones getting most of the media and public’s attention up to now.

NavarreAggie

“and Seth Borenstein can actually write an article without parroting the alarmists.”
Wow! Maybe Santa Claus does exist after all! 🙂

Kaboom

One point that I find interesting is the question of whether the process of fracking can itself create geological stress that is released through quakes or if it just facilitates the release of pre-existing stress energy. The latter would seem to be a good thing as it would in fact prevent a further build-up that could cause (more) damage.

D. Robinson

and Seth Borenstein can actually write an article without parroting the alarmists.
The most shocking conclusion of this post! But fear not, Mr Borenstein will self correct this one time slip of non-alarmism within a week.

Jeffrey Larsen

It’s probably worth pointing out as well that fracking/water injection itself isn’t potentially creating these earthquakes but would be allowing stress/strain to be relieved from naturally occuring tectonic forces. I think much of the public isn’t aware of this.

Dutyfree

For people interested in real earthquakes, check this link to the ongoing earthquakes in Christchurch New Zealand. They have real issues to deal with, not fracking related complaints about earthquakes no one feels and that have probably been happening all their lives.
http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz/

TomL

Fracking does, of course, cause swarms of micro-earthquakes. That’s what happens when rock breaks. The vast majority are less than magnitude 1. Careful monitoring of the microearthquakes is how the extent of the frack is measured, and also how it’s documented that the fractures never get anywhere near freshwater aquifers.
There was a special session at last year’s SEG on environmental concerns related to fracking. It is possible for a frack to intersect an existing fault and cause a small earthquake, but the volume of water used is too small to lubricate enough fault area to produce an earthquake bigger than 2.0 or so. Wastewater disposal wells inject larger volumes over longer times and have indeed triggered earthquakes of magnitude 4.0, causing minor damage. The best known example was at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal back in the 60’s, IIRC.

Doug

The following was sent to me by a geologist in Oklahoma:
“I heard the rumble that actually did turn out to be the earthquake,but needed ten seconds to figure out which it was. Not a big deal. The newskeeps trying to blame it on fracs.
No, it isn’t a frac, but we did notice that they arepumping mind boggling amounts of water (over 10,000 barrels water per day perwell) in hundreds of wells near epicenter/fault (huge water reinjection sweepof
old watered-out field recovering about 2% oil cut). Somebodyfrom the USGS did say that this type of water injection could cause up to a 5magnitude quake, however, nobody seems to be listening to him
as long as the misinformed public keeps blaming it on fracs, theindustry can continue to categorically deny fracs are the cause.”

Steve Keohane

Thanks for the perspective David. In western Colorado there is a fair amount of oil drilling. The local busy-bodies with too little to do are always gravely concerned about fracking and other aspects of the evil oil industry.

R. Gates

So the fracking doesn’t cause some of the earthquakes, but the disposal of the wastewater can? Isn’t this like saying it isn’t the fall that will kill you, but hitting the ground?

Former Forecaster

Nice. Thorough. As a geologist, I have only this to say to people terrified of the M2.0 quakes caused by fracking: nothing, because it is yet another in a series of non-issues trumped up by Greens to portray everything we do as Ultimate Evil.
And they wonder why people are no longer believing their drivel.

GeoLurking

Oil and gas are bad, clean is good. Oil and gas fracking is bad, fracking a putative triple junction under Hengill volcano is good.
No kidding. Sometimes they wind up making spidering quake swarms that extend several kilometers from the well operations… at a volcano that has been known to erupt on occasion. (150 AD was the last one)

TomL

The key distinction between fracking and injection wells is that injection wells are used in conventional oil fields all over the place and, although they are more likely than fracking to cause significant earthquakes, nobody claims that injection wells are going to destroy the world.
The “fracking” brand of fear-mongering is specifically targeted at shale gas, which is a threat to both Big Green and Big Coal. There’s a reason why the most publicized cases of ground water purportedly contaminated by fracking happen to be in Pennsylvania and Wyoming. The tactic is to blame fracking specifically for environmental problems like leaking casing cement or injection wells that can happen with any conventional oil or gas (or water) well.

Babsy

I guess y’all know that Halliburton used to have a big well service yard in Duncan, OK. I’ve seen many of their trucks streaming up and down US 81-287 heading to and from well sites. Now there are more evil well sevice companies in North Texas and they’re being invaded by windmills only 75 miles to the west. Oh, the HUMANITY! What will we do? How will we survive?

tty

“In general fracking does not cause significant quakes, but it is new and has not been well studied”
No, it has only been used for about 60 years and probably less than a million times.

crosspatch

What is interesting as that we do not see any complaints about quakes where water injection DOES cause them and we know it does. I am talking about the geothermal energy production at The Geysers in California.
Look at this map and notice the cluster of quakes East of Cloverdale, California:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqscanv/FaultMaps/123-39.html
Those quakes are caused by geothermal energy production and they happen every day. Not a single story ever hits the papers about them. But I would be willing to bet a cheeseburger and a coke that if there was fracking activity there, the “environmentalists” would be up in arms over it.

Doug

R. Gates says:
January 11, 2012 at 7:17 am
————So the fracking doesn’t cause some of the earthquakes, but the disposal of the wastewater can? Isn’t this like saying it isn’t the fall that will kill you, but hitting the ground?——
No, the waste water disposal my friend referred to was produced from an old watered out oil field. The wells produce 98% water, but at $100 a barrel for the oil, they are still making money. The volumes of water are vastly larger than frac fluid disposal, and are not a one time issue. These wells will produce water, in huge quantities, for their remaining life, while frac fluid flows back once and is done with. The massive water injection may have indeed caused a small quake. Cool, huh?

Luther Wu

R. Gates says:
January 11, 2012 at 7:17 am
So the fracking doesn’t cause some of the earthquakes, but the disposal of the wastewater can? Isn’t this like saying it isn’t the fall that will kill you, but hitting the ground?
__________________________________
Fracking and water disposal are completely unrelated.
Attempting evidential reasoning from a position of ignorance is folly.
Do some research, get a clue.

Louis Hooffstetter

R. Gates says: “So the fracking doesn’t cause some of the earthquakes, but the disposal of the wastewater can? Isn’t this like saying it isn’t the fall that will kill you, but hitting the ground?”
Both fracking and wastewater injection force fluids at high pressures into the rocks. Fracking uses less water over shorter periods of time, but at higher pressures. In both cases the injected fluid naturally follows paths of least resistance, which are usually pre-existing fracture zones called “joint patterns”. Joint patterns are produced by plate tectonics, and they exist virtually everywhere in continental land masses. Faults are simply fracture zones that have been put under so much stress that large masses of rocks have moved. The vibrations produced when large blocks of rock move is what we feel as earthquakes.
To have a significant earthquake from fracking or wastewater injection, two conditions must be met: 1) the water forced into the rocks must have enough hydraulic pressure to force apart the fracture zone of a nearby fault enough to ‘lubricate’ it, and 2) the existing fault zone must have enough pent up stress to cause it to slip when lubricated. If there are no nearby fault zones under significant stress, neither fracking nor wastewater injection can cause a significant earthquake.

DesertYote

2.0? Shoot, where I just moved from, that would not even be noticed. Over 4.0 and i might be reported in the local papers. Just north of were I lived 2-3s happen almost every day. No fracking lie.

Former Forecaster says on January 11, 2012 at 7:19 am
Nice. Thorough. As a geologist, I have only this to say to people terrified of the M2.0 quakes caused by fracking: nothing, because it is yet another in a series of non-issues trumped up by Greens to portray everything we do as Ultimate Evil.

My only question would be: “What does this do to a crystal-pulling operations”? (thinking of TI’s semiconductor foundry activities in North Texas now)
Primer: Silicon Crystal Growth including Silicon crystal boule manufacture.
Czochralski crystal growth process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czochralski_process
.

HP

actually they think the earthquakes are being caused by waste water disposal wells that they drilling to dispose of fraccing fluid.

GeologyJim

Three points: First, most fracking fluid is recovered during completion of the well. It is recycled for other fracking operations (hey, all that stuff costs money). So fracking operations are nowhere near as consumptive of water as alleged
Second, 99% of the frack fluid is water and sand. The rest consists of surfactants, wetting agents, and other benign stuff that helps produce a slurry that can deliver the sand to the fractures (that’s the whole point). If the VOCs used/produced in frack fluids were really so “toxic”, one would expect very anomalous respiratory illness/death among all oilfield workers.
Third, fluid injection does not “lubricate” fault zones. Fluids can reduce the lithostatic load (weight of rocks, if you like) that keeps a fault zone from slipping under ambient earth-stress conditions, thereby allowing slippage. But it ain’t a lube-job

Dave Worley

Shale producers avoid faults because you cannot build sufficient frac pressure if the fluid leaks into a fault. Frac wellbores are planned to avoid faulted areas. The shale must be relatively uniform and solid for proper fracing.
In Louisiana’s Haynesville shale area there are many despondent landowners who cannot get their property leased/drilled due to faults.

stumpy

Just to put a 2.0 quake into context, you would struggle to notice anything below 3.0 even if your lying still in bed listening for it and anything 4.0 or less you wouldnt notice if you were moving around – though you may hear something. Of course, magnitude is only part of it, distance from the epicentre and depth are also important – deeper or quakes further away create more of a swaying motion whilst shallow close quakes are more of a jot with a lot of high frequency vibration. Living in Christchurch now through a 7.4, 2x 6.4’s, a few 6.0’s and everything else below I now consider myself a bit of a quake expert!
My favourite game is guessing the magnitude depth and distance of the quake, I have gotten so good at it now I can tell where it came from, the depth, and energy reasonably accurately!
Frakking and 2.0 quakes is the last thing anyone should worry about!

Pete in Cumbria UK

From New Scientist (today)
British geologists say Fracking risk is exaggerated

Louis Hooffstetter says:
January 11, 2012 at 9:05 am
….
To have a significant earthquake from fracking or wastewater injection, two conditions must be met: 1) the water forced into the rocks must have enough hydraulic pressure to force apart the fracture zone of a nearby fault enough to ‘lubricate’ it, and 2) the existing fault zone must have enough pent up stress to cause it to slip when lubricated. If there are no nearby fault zones under significant stress, neither fracking nor wastewater injection can cause a significant earthquake.

Watch your language. That bolded word does not mean to a layperson what it does to a geologist or mathematician. You risk significant misunderstanding, unless you are VERY explicit.

Jackstraw

Brad says:
“Well, I guess I will have to go with the real scientists. In general fracking does not cause significant quakes, but it is new and has not been well studied and in certain geologic formations”
Brad With all due respect, you are wrong. Hydraulic Fracturing has been conducted extensively for over 60 years. There have been over 1.2 million fracture treatments pumped. The process has been studied extensively by Sandia National Laboratories, the Gas Research Institute, and many dozens of Universities. Not to mention the billions in private research dollars that have been invested in studying the subject.
I do not have the data at my fingertips, but I would venture to guess that there are many more PhDs issued in fracture mechanics and Geomechanics than there are in Climate Modeling.

@ GeoLurking,
What is going on under Guy, Arkansas? I recall you honkerheads discussing the possibilities of magma breaking a little rock. (not Little Rock) Any conclusions ever reached to the cause?
Possibly the heavy rainfalls in the region from 2008 through 2010?

There is a huge difference between hydraulic fracturing of crystalline rock like granite, and the hydraulic fracturing of sedimentary rock or porous rock — in terms of seismogenic potential.
Deep crystalline rock is fractured for enhanced geothermal applications, some deep well disposal operations, and perhaps deep CO2 sequestration. Seismic activity associated with crystalline rock fracturing — especially if near a fault zone — is not uncommon. But that is not the same as fraccing for oil & gas.
Fracturing sedimentary and porous rock is quite a different story, and is unlikely to cause any quakes detectable by most observers without sophisticated seismic detectors, in most cases.
A more important question to ask, is why are media outlets presenting a deceptively ominous picture of fraccing for oil & gas? What is the money and influence trail? How far does it go…?
Who stands to gain the most from a prohibition of tight oil & gas?

R. Gates

Louis Hooffstetter says
“To have a significant earthquake from fracking or wastewater injection, two conditions must be met: 1) the water forced into the rocks must have enough hydraulic pressure to force apart the fracture zone of a nearby fault enough to ‘lubricate’ it, and 2) the existing fault zone must have enough pent up stress to cause it to slip when lubricated. If there are no nearby fault zones under significant stress, neither fracking nor wastewater injection can cause a significant earthquake.”
______
Exactly. Thanks. We saw a series of earthquakes here in the Denver area in the 60’s and 70’s whenn they were pumping wastewater from a chemical arms manufacturing plant underground. They finally figured out they ought to stop, but not after millions of dollars in cracked foundations, walls, etc. Nothing major, but unecessary all the same.

Steve Woodside

If you want to feel earthquakes, come the Christchurch New Zealand. Over 8,000 since Sept 2010. Another 6.0 Md on 23 Dec, with the resulting swarm of aftershocks. Most of these well exceed the 2Md. For a while many of these were under the city and shallow (5 – 6 km deep) – so they were “well felt”.
Funny thing is, there is a move for oil exploration in NZ, including fracking. The greens try to run the “it causes earhtquakes” argument, but it doesn’t hold much validity in the “shaky isles”, since we had the shakes before the fracking. So they fall back on the “oil spill” disaster scenarios, especially since we had a container ship hit a reef 3 months ago, with about 1,700 tonnes of bunker oil. Most of the oil was removed, but some got to shore. The ship broke up a couple of days ago, so more oil is expected to hit the beaches in a day or two.

Fracking, shmacking. The bottom line is, whatever promises to supply affordable energy leading to an upsurge in the economy is the enemy. We know that coal and oil are going to bring global warming which is going to destroy us all. Previous “balmy times” (if we can find them on flattened hockey stick graphs) were good for people, but this time, no. Because we said so. Of course we know that nuclear is the horror of all horrors, so we can’t have that either. Now gas, well, that one was ok when there didn’t seem to be all that much of it…until this damnable fracking. Uh, oh. Wait, let’s see…earthquakes! Yes, that’s it, earthquakes and poisoned wells, and…and gas surging through Ma’s kitchen faucet. We can’t have that either, or at least, we need to study it…a lot and for a long time.
Now, some of you may puzzle over why wind turbines and solar panels aren’t being given a hard time, when we know that they are wasteful, inefficient, expensive, destructive and downright ugly. Simples: They don’t work all too well, so they can stay for now, until they’re all that’s left, most everyone has died off and then we can go after them.