CO2 causes earthquakes, is there anything it can't do?

From the University of Texas at Austin  and the “if a small earthquake happens in the boonies, does anyone care?” department comes this press release that the anti-frackers will most certainly seize upon. Note the word “probably” in the headline as an indication of lack of certainty. At least they point out other CO2 well injections that have not yielded any quakes.

Gas injection probably triggered small earthquakes near Snyder, Texas

A new study correlates a series of small earthquakes near Snyder, Texas between 2006 and 2011 with the underground injection of large volumes of gas, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) — a finding that is relevant to the process of capturing and storing CO2 underground.

Although the study suggests that underground injection of gas triggered the Snyder earthquakes, it also points out that similar rates of injections have not triggered comparable quakes in other fields, bolstering the idea that underground gas injection does not cause significant seismic events in many geologic settings.

No injuries or severe damage were reported from the quakes identified in the study.

The study represents the first time underground gas injection has been correlated with earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.

The results, from Wei Gan and Cliff Frohlich at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics, appear this week in an online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study focused on an area of northwest Texas with three large oil and gas fields — the Cogdell field, the Salt Creek field and the Scurry Area Canyon Reef Operators Committee unit (SACROC) — which have all produced petroleum since the 1950s.

Operators began injecting CO2 in the SACROC field in 1971 to boost petroleum production, a process known as CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2 EOR). Operators began CO2 EOR in the Cogdell field in 2001, with a significant increase starting in 2004. Because CO2 has been injected at large volumes for many years, the Department of Energy has funded research in this region to explore the potential impacts of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a proposed technique for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by capturing CO2 and injecting it deep underground for long-term storage.

This latest study was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Using a high-resolution temporary network of seismometers, Gan and Frohlich identified 93 earthquakes in the Cogdell area from March 2009 to December 2010, three of which were greater than magnitude 3. An even larger earthquake, with magnitude 4.4, occurred in Cogdell in September 2011. Using data on injections and extractions of fluids and gases, they concluded that the earthquakes were correlated with the increase in CO2 EOR in Cogdell.

“What’s interesting is we have an example in Cogdell field, but there are other fields nearby that have experienced similar CO2 flooding without triggering earthquakes,” said Frohlich, associate director of the Institute for Geophysics, a research unit in the Jackson School of Geosciences. “So the question is: Why does it happen in one area and not others?”

In a paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford University earthquake researchers Mark Zoback and Steven Gorelick argued “there is a high probability that earthquakes will be triggered by injection of large volumes of CO2” during CCS.

“The fact that the different fields responded differently to CO2 injection and that no other gas injection sites in the world have been linked to earthquakes with magnitudes as large as 3 suggest that despite Zoback and Gorelick’s concerns, it is possible that in many locations large-volume CO2 injection may not induce earthquakes,” said Frohlich.

Frohlich suggests one possible explanation for the different response to gas injection in the three fields might be that there are geological faults in the Cogdell area that are primed and ready to move when pressures from large volumes of gas reduce friction on these faults. The other two fields might not have such faults.

Frohlich suggests an important next step in understanding seismic risks for proposed CCS projects would be to create geological models of Cogdell and other nearby fields to better understand why they respond differently to gas injection.

Gan and Frohlich analyzed seismic data collected between March 2009 and December 2010 by the EarthScope USArray Program, a National Science Foundation-funded network of broadband seismometers deployed from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the high density of instruments, they were able to detect earthquakes down to magnitude 1.5, too weak for people to feel at the surface and many of which were not detected by the U.S. Geological Survey’s more limited seismic network.

Using the USArray data, the researchers identified and located 93 well-recorded earthquakes. Most occurred in several northeast-southwest trending linear clusters, which might indicate the presence of previously unidentified faults. Three of the quakes identified in the USArray data were greater than magnitude 3. According to U.S. Geological Survey observations for the same area from 2006 to 2011, 18 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3 occurred in the study area.

Gan and Frohlich also evaluated data on injections and extractions of oil, water and gas in the study area collected by the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates oil and gas operations. Since 1990, rates of liquid injection and extraction, as well as gas produced, remained fairly constant in all three oil and gas fields. The only significant change was a substantial increase in injection rates of gas, primarily CO2, in the Cogdell field starting in 2004.

Previous work by Frohlich and others has shown that underground injection of liquids can induce earthquakes.


This research was partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 41174076) and by the U.S. Geological Survey (Award G13AP00023).

The University of Texas at Austin is committed to transparency and disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest of its researchers. Frohlich has no research support from the petroleum industry, but he has consulted for geophysical service companies concerning seismic risks for dams, power plants, water pipelines and petroleum fields. Gan has no research support from the petroleum industry.

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Lil Fella from OZ
November 4, 2013 4:26 pm

What next! CO2 might be good to fuel a car?!! Science has come to a shrieking halt with these people!

November 4, 2013 4:31 pm

If it is found that fracking does cause small earthquakes then that is a good benefit. Much better to relieve the stress in the plates a little at a time rather than it build up and come all at once as a strong earthquake.
This isn’t bad news, it’s great news!

November 4, 2013 4:38 pm

I remember in 2012, there was a small earthquake on the outskirts of Dallas, probably related to some fluid movements in the Barnett Shale. Remember, this is in a metroplex of several million people, and the news report really did say “Dozens of people reported feeling it!!!!”
Someone cracked wise and posted a picture of his sofa, with one of the sofa pillows laying on the floor, with the caption “EARTHQUAKE 2012: WE WILL REBUILD!!!!”
(shallow earthquakes, ie, 5,000 ft deep or so, never cause any damage. The only ones that cause a lot of damage are those that are 4 of 5 miles deep, or more, and fracking and fluid movement has nothing to do with any of those)

November 4, 2013 4:43 pm

CO2-there’s nothing it can’t do! It warms, and cools. It rises, and falls. It slices, it dices, it juliennes!
Use it to heat your atmosphere and enable life to thrive, and it’s STILL sharp enough to cut this fresh tomato into wafer thin slices! It fricks! It fracks! It relieves pressure when the earth cracks! Call now and we’ll include a FREE copy of the IPCC’s 5th Report at absolutely no cost to you! (Well except for the billions of dollars you contributed through your tax dollars to it’s creation in the first place!) Don’t wait! Get your CO2 today!

Bill Illis
November 4, 2013 4:44 pm

We know that fracking and mining and, moreso, large-scale hydrothermal energy projects do generate small earthquakes occasionally.
Whether they are significant enough to stop the practise(s) is the question. The hydrothermal projects were actually creating damage to properties so that is enough in my opinion but earthquakes at 3.5 and lower don’t seem to have any impact.

November 4, 2013 4:44 pm

So we have TRILLIONS of cubic feet of another carbon compound*–CH4–that apparently doesn’t trigger earthquakes, but add a few thousand cubic feet of that nasty CO2 and voila!–
Are they** saying that were the CH4 to come from some Western Industrial process, it would cause earthquakes too?
The trickery of those carbon compounds*! The skullduggery of those Warmistas**!
(* natural gas is mostly methane–CH4. Apparently Warmistas are gaseous, too.)

Bryan Johnson
November 4, 2013 4:48 pm

Sorry, but you’re all wrong. It’s women’s immodesty that causes earthquakes. I have it on good authority: see

November 4, 2013 4:53 pm

Storing CO2 underground to reduce AGW, total and utter b******s, add water, quinine, saccharin, loads of ice, slice of lime and copious amounts of gin. Problem solved, but if not, who cares? Hic, hic!

Bryan Johnson
Reply to  AndrewmHarding
November 4, 2013 4:09 pm

And who is that lovely Mother Earth person…. great mountains, don’t you know. Do come sit on my lap.
Where can I get one of those “Free C O Two” t-shirts? No idea who those C and O guys are, but I’m sure that they deserve to be free, dammit.

November 4, 2013 4:55 pm

Free the C O Two! Now!

Janice Moore
November 4, 2013 4:06 pm

“… it is possible that in many locations any location on the planet large-volume CO2 injection may not induce earthquakes,” said Frolic.
… one possible explanation {is that this is a bunch of hot air}.
Frolic suggests {giving him a ton of cash} … to create geological models of Cogdell and other nearby fields to better {help him pay the mortgage on the house he will buy}… .”
Errors — not exhaustive by any means — corrected.
Here’s what Hugo Chavez would hypothesize
(as would “The Green Party” (of course) of the country of Georgia):
The Earthquake Weapon LOL. (he was serious)

November 4, 2013 4:07 pm

It’s not an unreasonable statement. Fluid injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is known (Apocryphally to me) to have caused small earthquakes in the Denver, Co area. Assuming that there were no shenanigans then, we would have no expectation that large scale carbon sequestrations (Or even fracking) wouldn’t do the same thing. But it’s one thing to state that, and another to state that stress is relieved by creating stress. May be so, but may create stresses where none were previously, or exacerbate stresses that existed previously. That’s a pretty big unknown.
But as a purely legalistic issue, if your endeavours are creating tremors, then it’s a rather far stretch to chalk up carbon sequestration to force majeure. Properly, it’s a culpability of the carbon sequesterers under the notion of “We had to wreck the planet to save it.”

Janice Moore
November 4, 2013 4:08 pm

@ Andrew M. Harding — lol. Another sun sot. Have to re-think that trend line, NASA.

Steve from Rockwood
November 4, 2013 4:13 pm

The real question is why can’t the Chinese author get any gigs with the US petroleum industry?

Roy Spencer
November 4, 2013 4:18 pm

I think it’s also time to ban butterflies from flapping their wings. Too much chaos goin’ on out dere.

November 4, 2013 4:18 pm

Shaky science.

Bryan Johnson
November 4, 2013 4:19 pm

In response to Jquip: The earthquake episodes have been entirely shown to be without merit. There have been numerous studies that have shown that the earthquake zones are not modified by any fluid injections or extractions. This is one of those can’t-be-proved ideas that the anti’s are trying to pretend are proven fact. It’s a meme that has gone to the low-information press. Maddening, really.

Janice Moore
November 4, 2013 4:21 pm

@ Steve (from Rockwood) — Yes, indeed. 😉 My guess is…. he is OWNED by the windmill guys.
Or, maybe….. he’s just owned by the Chinese (they all are in “the People’s” republic)…..
Hu Jin Tao (or whatever the guy’s name is): Frac’ing (see that, Tom G. Ologist? #(:)) bad. You no do. Make gas too cheap!

November 4, 2013 4:27 pm

Many Warmists are unaware that oil companies have been ‘capturing’ and storing co2 for decades now, to get more OIL! Oh the irony. No wonder oil companies were won over to the side of climate change. They are a cunning lot.

Reg Nelson
November 4, 2013 4:29 pm

Here’s an idea: Sequester the CO2 in giant silos of the Coca Cola that Bloomberg has banned from restaurants. Two birds, one stone.

November 4, 2013 4:29 pm

Where are the anti-fracking brigade? I mean we have earthquakes don’t we. This should be reason to stop this activity. No? Why not?

November 4, 2013 4:29 pm

One issue that I see is that they posit that the correlation means causation. They chose an area with known seismic activity and known CO2 injection. The area also has been heavily exploited for oil and natural gas and has had CO2 injection for recovery for a long time. Thus, both conditions were known to coincide before data collection and analysis began. It would seem that one would need to compare a number of extended periods with and without CO2 injection to do an appropriate analysis. If areas where similar geological formations exist, without a history of resource extraction and prolonged CO2 injection are available, that would also be a good candidate for doing a study with and without injection.
I don’t dismiss the study entirely, and determining whether there is a problem for CO2 injection in SOME types of of geological formations is important to know. As it stands, it seems to me that this study is far from establishing causation.

November 4, 2013 4:35 pm

Here is a long list of things that Co2 CAN do.

November 4, 2013 4:37 pm

Roy Spencer says:
November 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm
I think it’s also time to ban butterflies from flapping their wings. Too much chaos goin’ on out dere.
One caught on video Doc 😉

I just couldn’t stop the mouse>

son of mulder
November 4, 2013 4:41 pm

CO2 causes thermometers to slightly expand and so that explains why there has been no warming measured for the past 17 years ;>)

November 4, 2013 4:41 pm

OT but any eyeopener if correct.
“RSS data shows that the Antarctic Peninsula has been cooling for 20 years.”

November 4, 2013 4:53 pm

Hydraulic fracturing related activities have been correlated with earthquake activity in a number of studies. Its real, all right. The question is… Is it bad?
Some could argue it is a good thing for fracking to trigger small EQs because that releases building seismic pressures sooner, resulting in smaller and less harmful quakes.

November 4, 2013 5:13 pm

Too Late! Danny Glover has already linked earthquakes to AGW. So it does not matter if you frack it or just pump it, it causes all the worlds ills!

Gary Hladik
November 4, 2013 5:25 pm

“Three of the quakes identified in the USArray data were greater than magnitude 3. According to U.S. Geological Survey observations for the same area from 2006 to 2011, 18 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3 occurred in the study area.”
We’re missing some info here. How many such earthquakes occurred in the area before the oil fields were injected? Zero? Some? Lots?

November 4, 2013 5:32 pm

Gary Hladik, you make a good point. It is closely related to one of the maxims that I live by: Anyone who gives you a numerator without a denominator is trying to deceive you.

David Ball
November 4, 2013 5:45 pm

Gary Hladik says:
November 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm
Great point. How do they know the earthquakes wouldn’t have happened anyway?

November 4, 2013 5:49 pm

rare moment of truth from the CAGW side:
5 Nov: Bloomberg: Alex Morales: Kyoto Veterans Say Global Warming Goal Slipping Away
The only three living diplomats who have led the United Nations global warming talks said there’s little chance the next climate treaty will prevent the world from overheating…
***“There is nothing that can be agreed in 2015 that would be consistent with the 2 degrees,” said Yvo de Boer, who was UNFCCC executive secretary in 2009, when attempts to reach a deal at a summit in Copenhagen crumbled with a rift between industrialized and developing nations. “The only way that a 2015 agreement can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy.”…

November 4, 2013 5:49 pm

So … what was the rate of small quakes, say, 10, 20 +30 years ago? Any data available comparable in resolution to what they recently took?
Yea or nay?

November 4, 2013 5:58 pm

4 Nov: Bloomberg: Julia Mengewein: Merkel Facing Power Dilemma as Coal Plants Open: Energy Markets
Germany, Europe’s biggest power market, is poised to open its first new coal-fired plants in eight years, just as prices slump because of a glut of electricity.
GDF Suez SA, Trianel GmbH and Steag GmbH will bring three new plants online by December, enough to supply more than 4.4 million homes. The nation is already producing so much electricity that exports will surpass last year’s record in 2013, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Muenster, Germany. Power prices may slide 12 percent by 2016, according to UBS AG in Zurich…
Even as the $757-billion energy shift boosts renewable power output to 35 percent of total supply by 2020, from 23 percent now, Merkel will be more reliant than ever on fossil fuels to drive Europe’s biggest economy on cloudy and still days.
“Merkel’s government has put itself in a dilemma,” said Danny Graefe, who has traded power and natural gas for four years at AVU AG fuer Versorgungs-Unternehmen in Gevelsberg, Germany. “On the one hand it is promoting green energy, on the other hand, we see all those hard coal plants coming online now. I don’t see anything bullish in the power market.” …
The three new plants mark the start of Germany’s (GRGDPPGQ) biggest new-build program since its power market was liberalized in 1998. The units will boost the nation’s hard-coal capacity by 8.5 percent, and the total generation ability by 1.2 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg…
The profit from burning coal next year compared with the loss from using gas rose to 27.35 euros a megawatt-hour on Oct. 11, the most in at least four years.
“Coal and lignite will continue to play an important role when it comes to complementing the fluctuation of renewable energy,” Hildegard Mueller, head of BDEW, the Germany utility lobby, said. “If you want the energy transition to succeed you won’t be able to renounce coal from the German energy mix for the foreseeable future.”

November 4, 2013 6:05 pm

4 Nov: Bloomberg: Sandrine Rastello: World Bank Sees Ways to Slow Arctic Melt in Kitchen, Coal Mines
Replacing cook stoves, curbing crop fires and capturing methane when extracting fossil fuels would help slow ice melting from the Arctic to the Himalayas and decrease risks of flooding, the World Bank said…
“Efforts to reduce black carbon and methane cannot replace long-term mitigation of CO2, which requires a global transition to a low-carbon, highly energy-efficient economy,” Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, wrote in a foreword to the report. “By addressing short-lived climate pollutants, however, we will be reaping some significant climate benefits while at the same time meeting human development needs now.” …

Jeff Alberts
November 4, 2013 6:16 pm

re: Gorelick
Talk about an unfortunate, and revolting, name.

Steve from Rockwood
November 4, 2013 6:20 pm

Ignoring whether injecting CO2 into the earth is a good thing (or not), injecting anything into the earth at high pressure for a sustained period of time will cause the pressure gradient to change and could easily lead to earth tremors. It’s pretty simple really. Next crisis.

November 4, 2013 6:40 pm

I live approx 12 miles from the epicenter of the 2.6 quake located approx 1 mile northwest of dfw airport in 2012. There is no way that fracturing is powerful enough to create that powerful of a quake.

November 4, 2013 6:44 pm

4 Nov: DailyCaller: Michael Bastasch: Senate GOP: Did White House cook UN global warming report?
Senate Republicans are questioning the Obama administration about reports that U.S. officials tried to suppress the 15-year global warming hiatus in the United Nations’ climate report…

Janice Moore
November 4, 2013 8:13 pm

Re: Jimbo at 4:27pm (and Steve (from Rockwood) the answer to whose question at 4:23pm is implied by Jimbo’s statement):
FWIW — some background information (emphasis mine)
{Note: since 2003, when this was written, things have changed — Bwah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaa! — the carbon credit market isn’t doing so hot…. hopefully….. IT WILL SOON COLLAPSE…)}:
“Geological sequestration of carbon dioxide may invigorate petroleum activity in the Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico, envisions L. Stephen Melzer, a long-time consultant and oil and natural gas investor in Midland, Tex. … The basin also is the world capital for CO2 injection for {EOR enhance{ed?} oil recovery}…
{there is concern in the industry that} as the major oil companies continue their exodus from the region, the smaller operators may not continue investing for the long term. {Melzer} gives three main reasons … {2} Another is that the return on capital for such projects is lengthy. … {given the} negative cash flow during the initial years of EOR projects

‘incentives for sequestering anthropogenic (manmade) CO2 could create the necessary elements for a dramatic increase in CO2 flooding in Permian basin reservoirs.’ … .”

CO2 emission reduction trading credits (ERCs) could be used to provide incentives for capturing and sequestering anthropogenic CO2. The value of these credits could accrue in part to the EOR companies providing an additional revenue stream… .”
{Source: Oil and Gas Journal, Point of View, Guntis Muritis, 12/1/03,}
Since these carbon “markets” are subsidized by taxpayers and by confiscation of other industries’ capital (by “licenses” or “fines” or via the tax code), CO2 “credit” scammers are simply parasites profiteering at the expense of hard working Americans and honest investors.
@ All you rat “entrepreneurs”:
If you can’t make it honestly,
if you need to effectively steal to run your operation,
that isn’t a business,
that’s a racket.
And it is cowardly and weak. How can you look “Joe the Plumber” in the eye? Invest your own money and walk tall and proud.
BTW: I am ALL FOR BIG OIL — domestic petroleum is freedom! Wealth is only possible, for now, anyway, due to petroleum and wealth is the only source of true “green” (“hard green” per Peter Huber).

Cynical Scientst
November 4, 2013 9:17 pm

Those opposed to fracking on the grounds that it might cause earthquakes and groundwater contamination completely ignore the much greater danger posed by CO2 sequestration. There is not only a potential for earthquakes, but if the CO2 ever gets into contact with groundwater it’ll form carbonic acid and leach minerals out of the rock creating a toxic frothy mess. And if containment were to rupture in an earthquake there is also the danger of nearby people getting smothered. I wouldn’t want to live nearby.

Bob Diaz
November 4, 2013 9:28 pm

/// Satire ///
According to a Scientific Study, we found a Statistical Significance between increasing CO2 Levels and increasing bad science!!! ;-))
However, I’ll bet if someone researched it, you may find a correlation. ;-))

November 4, 2013 9:38 pm

It was not co2 al gore farted down a mine shaft.As we no the man is full of crap.

Mike Bromley the Kurd
November 4, 2013 9:46 pm

nigelf says:
November 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm
If it is found that fracking does cause small earthquakes then that is a good benefit. Much better to relieve the stress in the plates a little at a time rather than it build up and come all at once as a strong earthquake.
This isn’t bad news, it’s great news!
Except that most fracking happens where earthquakes aren’t a problem to begin with. And I’d sure as hell love to see them relieve, by fracking, the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Oh, the Litigation!

November 4, 2013 11:25 pm

Castor are injecting gas into an old petrol field in the Mediterranean, and it’s causing eathquakes, hundreds of them up to 4.1. The rig is situated a couple of miles offshore but after complaints from local villagers they shut down the process. The priblem is that the government have indemnified Castor and will have to pay almost 2 billion € of compensation if it has to stop.
Why they need to store gas there is a another question.

November 5, 2013 12:02 am

It’s all pretty simple folks. Sure, you can relieve shallow and deep slip-plane surfaces by exceeding the modulus of friction. Shallow occurrences are primarily associated with flowback and produced waters injected into wastewater disposal wells. The amounts of ‘water’ injected into each disposal well dramatically exceeds that produced from quite a few exploratory, test and production wells. And such disposal wells are typically somewhere below fresh water aquifers (of whatever quality) and the hydrocarbon producing horizon(s).
The thing is we have been hydraulically fracturing reservoir rocks, typically thousands of feet below even the least egregious wastewater re-injection aquifers since 1947. Yes, there are undoubtedly some anomalous situations, but in the main, the source rocks (organic shales etc.) that over many millions of years in the ‘oil window’ (or naturally distilled/cracked etc.) leaked the hydrocarbons we have been sipping in the reservoir rocks above them for over half a century now.
If you should happen to crack a source rock, which typically lie well below the reservoir rocks, well then the worst you might be able to do is cause some leakage into the reservoir rocks that might take quite a few thousand/million years to reach the structural culminations of the reservoir rocks, which we have been exploiting for not much more than a century now. The exception possibly being coalbed methane farming, which typically happens stratigraphically well above O&G producing horizons.
Should such a situation occur, or should such a situation having already occurred, we will most likely have abandoned hydrocarbons as a source of concentrated energy long before anything we screw-up and release to the reservoir rocks ever makes it to 20th/21st century O&G production wells.
The only other way to impact drinking water aquifers is up the vertical portion of the exploratory/production boring. Which is pretty much the only issue worth worrying about.
Early completion bonuses, whereby the driller is paid a bonus for completing the well ahead of schedule, would be a good place to start if this is a concern to you. The Macondo well blowout (yes, this is a H. sapiens sapiens attention-span test) occurred due to a lousy and rushed annular cement job. OK, you have drilled a hole. You recognize that to get anything back from this hole you need to run a mile or two etc. of casing, pipe, to the productive horizon. So, now you have a hole, and a pipe in the hole. What will discourage/prevent stuff from coming up both inside and outside the pipe? The cementing of the space between the drilled borehole and the necessarily lesser diameter casing, a.k.a. the annular space.
Literally, that is it! Pass laws, executive orders et al, eliminating early completion bonuses and emphasizing well-integrity tests, and problem solved!
Of course, there will undoubtedly be the oddball screw-up. Something, maybe even a whole heck of a lot of bad stuff comes up the annular space between the borehole and the casing.
That would be really bad, wouldn’t it?
Well……………. Wherever, whatever, comes up under high pressure between the walls of the borehole and the production casing and enters a relatively shallow fresh-water aquifer will necessarily be somewhat of a point-source problem. This catastrophe would happen in reasonably close proximity to the well.
But the question which somehow comes to mind is how much different would such a rather localized drinking-water aquifer impact differ from the millions of leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites that we have been cleaning up successfully since the mid-1980’s?
Well, first-off, I’ve been cleaning up LUST sites which started leaking before I was born, and I will be 60 next year! Second, these localized fresh-water aquifer impacts near a shoddy well will be crude organic hydrocarbons, not MTBE, Benzene etc. Pretty darned easy to clean-up, wherever and whenever they occur.
The 21st century fracking problem is ridiculously simple. Which requires but 2 simple solutions. First, the driller is on the hook, and early completion bonuses are history. Secondly, ‘before’ sampling of drinking water aquifers, during, and for some time thereafter, will be the ‘acid-test’.
Contaminate a drinking water aquifer? Go to jail. Before, during and aquifer testing is what is known as “cheap insurance” in the big-bucks game of hydrocarbon exploration. Dramatically cheaper than cleaning-up LUSTs, which I have been doing for nearly 4 decades now. This is just simple groundwater monitoring. A very cost-competitive market so many decades on now. If you are a Koch brother, you would not have to wait decades for it to migrate wherever and deal with all of that………….. It would just be the minor equivalent of a fueling station that had not released anything so refined as gasoline, or for that matter mere diesel. Or not very difficult to confine and clean-up.
But it the possibility does exist that it might be worserwer than we thought! If CO2 is as good a thermal insulator as the most insidious of us (H. sapiens sapiens) think it is, why – literally on earth, would you even contemplate removing it here at the half-precession cycle old Holocene interglacial?
But perhaps the most interesting question H. sapiens sapiens might ask at such a time might be “What if CO2 cannot delay or prevent onset of the next glacial?”
What then indeed……………..

November 5, 2013 12:03 am

1) CO2 is causing earthquakes
2) US government is supporting the injection of CO2
3) Ipso Facto: the US Government is causing earthquakes.
I knew it! Will my tin foil hat protect me from earthquakes?

November 5, 2013 12:50 am

Aw, they can’t have it both ways.
Either CO2 storage is good and fracking is bad (running local battle about storing CO2 from local coalburning power station but stopping coalbed gas recovery between Falkirk and Stirling) or fracking is good but CO2 storage is bad by causing earthquakes (see above).

November 5, 2013 1:06 am

We have an especial and very alarming case here in Spain; it´s going to cost a lot!
“Work halted on giant gas storage plant after minor earthquakes detected in area”

November 5, 2013 2:39 am

pat says:
November 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm
“5 Nov: Bloomberg: Alex Morales: Kyoto Veterans Say Global Warming Goal Slipping Away
The only three living diplomats who have led the United Nations global warming talks ”
…so… the deception strategy started in the 1960ies by CFR, Club Of Rome, UN, comes to an end due to the dying out of its masterminds.

November 5, 2013 3:46 am

If the human race or something similar survives most of the remaining billion or so habitable years on earth, it is unlikely that it will ever again come close to, let alone equal, the astronomical mind-numbing stupidity and wrong-headedness of the practice of deliberately injecting the beneficial atmospheric gas CO2 deep into the earth.

November 5, 2013 5:23 am

“Using data on injections and extractions of fluids and gases, they concluded that the earthquakes were correlated with the increase in CO2 EOR in Cogdell.” Ah, I get it. Correlation being confused with causation again.

November 5, 2013 5:25 am

A piece on the BBC News website here in the UK – ‘Environmental’ section – that a local expert in Carbon Capture and Storage is ‘angry’ at the slow take-up of the technology by the UK government.
Injecting gas at high pressure underground – what could possibly go wrong..?

November 5, 2013 5:49 am

Wow, real science gets done, and people here complain? WUWT. Some of you would be well advised (pardon the pun), to take a much closer look at real Geophysics. When you remove pressurized fluids from certain types of rock you get movement. When you add pressurized fluids to certain types of rock you get movement. Think subsidence and it’s inverse. If there are faults around (guess what you look for when you’re looking for hydrocarbon traps…) you can get action.
Water injection also causes earthquakes – see Basel, Switzerland – told that there was a finite chance of earthquakes with their “Green” geothermal power plans, they went ahead and got a 3.4 quake as a result. Then sued the geophysicist who had warned them, effectively saying, you knew and didn’t stop us. The case was tried, and he was exonerated – hundreds of thousands of $ poorer.
Bottom line – stop knee jerking about CO2! Sheesh!

November 5, 2013 6:04 am

check out the large number of very sensitive seismometers in the array. They see seismic events and when a smaller 3D array is placed in an area of interest, can resolve details. The fact that the micro-quakes occurred in a line indicates a fracture zone which may not have been previously known. Sonograms of Mother Earth aren’t the same as X-rays, there’s still a lot of unknowns.

November 5, 2013 7:16 am

Operators began injecting CO2 in the SACROC field in 1971 to boost petroleum production
Big oil is funding the CO2 GHG scare, for two good reasons. A price on CO2 makes oil more profitable as compared to coal, and coal is the only serious competition to oil. Second, getting paid to pump CO2 underground further raises the profitability of oil.
Imagine taking your car in to fill up with gas, and getting paid by the oil industry to take their gas. That is what CCS means for the oil industry. Getting paid to pump CO2 underground, that would otherwise cost the industry money.
The oil industry stands to gain more than just about any industry on earth if there is a tax placed on CO2. All paid for by the consumer. Is it really such a surprise that AL Gore’s network was bought out by Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar. Its all about the Oil.

November 5, 2013 7:51 am

CO2 causes aging which results in weight gain, wrinkles and grey hair, among other things.

November 5, 2013 8:47 am

I know about coal bed methane extraction, and I think that is a good thing. However has anybody yet figured out how to extract the energy in coal in situ and extract that for use? It must surely be a huge source of energy.
I spent some time in the late 70’s designing gas producers that used ordinary coal as a feedstock and provided a high calorific gas for use in manufacturing processes like bread making, paint drying on automobile production lines and the like. It seems to be theoretically possible but I can’t find evidence for it being done . . . yet.

Robert W Turner
November 5, 2013 8:51 am

When all you have is circumstantial evidence to base a conclusion on and it suggests that there is and isn’t a correlation then just default to the idealistic green conclusion?

November 5, 2013 10:35 am

In the gas industry it is common for exploratory wells to produce natural gas with high CO2 content. Researchers confirm that previously low-value gas that is high in CO2 can be profitably exploited to produce valuable products.
How did the CO2 get there? Perhaps the dinosaurs invented CO2 injection wells.
Meanwhile we have armies of green helmets telling us we should bury this valuable resource.

November 5, 2013 2:04 pm

My educational background is Geology and the idea of CO2 injections triggering earthquakes sounds completely absurd to me. I’d need to see a detailed hypothetical mechanism to even begin to consider the possibility. As it is, the amount of added pressure needed to push oil out of a well is so miniscule compared to the pressure of earth surrounding the oil deposit, causing fault movement seems highly unlikely.

Gunga Din
November 5, 2013 2:54 pm

Does anyone know if the Wizard of COz (Hansen) has weighed in on this?

November 6, 2013 2:56 pm

But wait! There’s more!
CO2 is going to shrink horses & turn snakes into giants!–it-happened-before–and-could-happen-again-153534343.html

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