Regulation

Surrey residents report second earthquake in a week

190219 Newdigate BGS

Newdigate earthquake on 19 February 2019. Chart: British Geological Survey

People living near Newdigate in Surrey reported feeling another earth tremor this evening.

The tremor was recorded by the British Geological Survey at 5.03pm and measured 1.9ML (local magnitude).

It follows a larger seismic event in the same area at 7.43am on Valentine’s Day (14 February). This measured 2.4ML and was described by residents as a loud bang, rumbling and shaking, as though something had fallen on their homes.

The latest tremors bring to 18 the total in an area of Surrey that had not previously experienced earthquakes for at least 50 years. The largest so far measured 3.0ML on 5 July 2018.

190219 Newdigate earth tremors

Described as a swarm by geologists, the tremors began on 1 April 2018 and continued during the summer until October 2018, when they stopped, only to resume last week. They have all been at approximately the same depth, unusually at about 2km, and in the same area.

The cause of the tremors has divided geologists. A majority of participants at a workshop by the Oil and Gas Authority concluded there was no evidence that the hydrocarbon industry in the area had induced the seismic activity.

But three geologists at Edinburgh University, including one who disagreed with the OGA workshop conclusions, said last week the link to local oil exploration should be investigated.

They released a report, written before last Thursday’s tremors, which concluded that operations at the Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick Airport could have triggered the 2018 earthquakes. They warned:

“We infer that future oil exploration and production close to critically-stressed faults in the Weald is likely to result in similar earthquake events”.

Their report was criticised by the major investor in the Horse Hill site, UK Oil & Gas plc, and the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas.

Dr Stephen Hicks, of Imperial College, who installed seismic monitoring equipment in the area after the early earthquakes, said:

“there remains no significant physical explanation based on substantial evidence that could explain how these earthquakes could have been induced by human activities.”

He tweeted this evening:

“Surrey continues to rumble away this evening with a small and slightly felt magnitude 1.9 earthquake reported by the BGS at approx 1700 this eve. Follows last Thursday’s magnitude 2.3 event. Same location and depth as the previous events in the sequence.

Environmental campaigners said the process of analysing the cause of the earthquakes had been “far from transparent”. The Weald Action Group, a network of community groups opposed to oil and gas extraction in south east England, called on the Horse Hill operator to provide well and site engineering logs for the period of the 2018 tremors.

Yesterday, UK Oil & Gas announced that oil production from the Portland formation at Horse Hill had resumed after a six-month shut-in of the well.

19 replies »

    • Ha! Ha! Funny guy!

      Obsession is not a good look Paul.

      And nor is frack rage…..

      But I forgive you, after all, that’s all you lot have got left isn’t it.

      Sad really.

    • Perhaps the barmy army will oblige?
      Oh I see they are all ready here….

      On a more serious note for a moment, perhaps those of us who are still aware of what the standard fossil fuel fool response is to these regular announcements of earthquakes in Surrey, is to avoid any sensible comment.
      And that is to resort to stupid remarks and ridicule and to divert anything said into attack or stupidity. Anti anti strategy is what that reveals itself to be.

      We see that right here today and previously, but stepping back a bit, it becomes more and more obvious that there is something wrong in the state of Surrey that can’t be addressed sensibly so it must be made fun of or debase into ritual abuse.

      So that reveals a very pervasive in almost every anti anti post now.
      An obvious strategy to avoid anything serous being said about these earthquakes.

      So have fun with it by all means, but don’t forget that the fossil fuel fool industry is far too concerned to allow any serious discussion to take place.

  1. ” A majority of participants”!!

    The pants bit is correct. “All but one” is not so exciting but more accurate.

  2. Wondering when the next nearby quake will happen and what magnitude?

    Then wonder how it will be explained away as nothing to worry about, regular natural occurrence etc., etc.!

  3. Interesting timing, on Feb 5 Edinburgh University predicted the continuation of the swarm.

    Some of the other participants of the OGA workshop were at the time finalising their paper (The 2018 Surrey, UK earthquake sequence: a causal link with nearby oil drilling activities? Hicks, S.P., Verdon., J., Baptie, B., Luckett, R., Mildon, Z., Gernon. T.) and saying that it had ended, (according to tweets from one of them) and presumably reflecting their consensus that there was no industrial cause. Since then we have had 2 felt earthquakes, perhaps they should have paid more attention to Professor Haszeldine at the workshop?

    The most scandalous aspect of the OGA workshop though, was the (almost) universal acceptance that only the metrics from Brockham should be considered in deciding whether the earthquakes were induced, despite the fact that Horse Hill is 3 km away. Including HH in the test they used would have changed the outcome and indicted that the swarm is being triggered by activities at Horse Hill.

    Professor Haszeldine speaking after the Valentines day tremors; https://youtu.be/t-PAlVjArp4

    • Dorkinian – maybe you could point me to a paper that Haszeldine has had published on seismology. OK – don’t waste your time looking because he hasn’t – he’s got no expertise on the subject. He’s just the same as the other anti-frackers – adding two and two to come up with 5. The research that he’s conducted on the subject on which he’s supposed to be an expert on (sandstone diagenesis) has been proven to be incorrect so why would one listen to him on a subject that he has no expertise in?

      • That’s it Judith show yourself up with the ad hominem attack.

        Don’t forget they had a team working on this, perhaps you’d like to insult the rest of them too?

        • There’s nothing ad hominem about pointing out that an author has been proven wrong about previously things that he’s written. I can go into the grim details but I think they’d be a little bit above you wouldn’t they Dorkinian. But if you do have any knowledge about this subject then you might know that he published quite a bit suggesting: (I) quartz cementation of sandstones was caused by fluid migration from shale; (ii) oil emplacement retarded quartz cementation in the Fulmar formation; (iii) fault-related fluid flow had a significant impact on sandstone diagenesis. I can’t think of anyone who accepts that these are correct.

          In terms of his two co-authors – why not check their CV’s – I think you’ll find that I’m correct when I say that they are not seismologists!

          If you look at the argument put by Haszeldine it is simply that there is a cluster of earthquakes that is moderately close to an oil well – he has not theory to related the operations with the earthquakes. He isn’t presenting science

          • Ad hominem (Latin for “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

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