As the oil and gas industry has expanded in parts of the US, so have the number of earthquakes
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Massive injections of wastewater from the oil and gas industry are likely to have triggered a sharp rise in earthquakes in the state of Oklahoma.
Researchers say there has been a forty-fold increase in the rate of quakes in the US state between 2008-13.
The scientists found that the disposal of water in four high-volume wells could be responsible for a swarm of tremors up to 35km away.
Their research has been published in the journal, Science.
There has been increasing evidence of links between the process of oil and gas extraction and earthquakes in states like Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma in recent years.
“If a fault is close to failure, the amount that the pressure is going up at these locations in our model is enough to push them over the edge” Dr Katie Keranen Cornell University
In 2011, a small number of people were injured and 14 houses were destroyed in the town of Prague, Oklahoma by a 5.7 tremor.
Investigators linked it to the injection of wastewater from the oil industry.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) has also reported on the question of seismicity induced by wastewater disposal