Ohio Suspends Well Operations After a Series of Earthquakes

After a series of earthquakes over the past year, including the 4.0 Richter magnitude scale on Saturday, Ohio officials, in the wake of public safety, have decided to suspend operations at five fluid injection wells for an indefinite period.

Over the past year, Youngstown has suffered 11 earthquakes, possibly resulting from a close relationship between an unknown fault line and the well’s location. According to The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it is suspending operations at five Mahoning County wells owned by Northstar Disposal Services LLC as a precaution since geologists believe that the fluid disposal could be aggravating the fault line causing earthquakes.

In the past, human-triggered earthquakes have been documented in United States, Japan and Canada. Similar to the Youngstown example is the 5.5 magnitude earthquake of 1967 at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado, where hydraulic fracturing is the suspected cause.

Youngstown is not prone to earthquakes, and the last seismic record goes back to the 1980s. However, this year a 2.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded on March 17, 2011, following a series of quakes in August, September, October, November and December.

The latest 4.0 earthquake on New Year’s eve at 3:05 pm got the balls rolling as officials decided to take an immediate step to stop all operations.

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