Industry

1.6ML earth tremor recorded at fracking site

190821 seismograph pnr

The largest earth tremor induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool was recorded this evening.

People living near the site at Preston New Road said they heard and felt the tremor at 8.46pm.

The tremor was described as a “loud rumble and tremble”. Cuadrilla compared it to a “large bag of shopping dropping to the floor”.

The British Geological Survey measured the tremor at 1.6 on the local magnitude (ML) scale and said it was felt by people living in Westby, Weeton, Wrea Green, Blackpool and Lytham St Annes. Cuadrilla said it measured 1.55ML.

Another tremor at 10.42pm measured 0.9ML.

Fracking was not underway at the time of either tremor. But Cuadrilla said in a statement it would pause fracking operations for 18 hours.

A spokesperson for the company said:

“Most local people will not have felt it due to its small size.

“Well integrity has been verified and we will now pause operations and continue monitoring for the next 18 hours.”

Because fracking had finished for the day, the tremors counted as trailing events under the hydraulic fracturing plan for the well. Cuadrilla must carry out well integrity checks for all trailing events with a magnitude of more than 0.5ML.

The centre of the 1.6 tremor is the furthest east of all those recorded by the BGS after fracking resumed at Preston New Road on 15 August 2019.

Since then, there have been a total of 54 seismic events. There have been tremors on all six days that fracking was carried out at the site.

190822 pnr2 tremor map

Centre of tremors induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site from 15 August 2019. Source: BGS

This evening’s 1.6ML tremor exceeds the magnitude of all the other tremors since 15 August 2019.

It also exceeds those recorded by the BGS when Cuadrilla fracked the first well at Preston New Road in October-December 2018. During that operation, there were more than 50 small tremors, the strongest of which was 1.5ML.

190822 bubble chart Refracktion

Relative size of earth tremors caused by fracking at Preston New Road since 15 August 2019. Refracktion

Cuadrilla previously caused a larger tremor. In 2011 its fracking operation at Preese Hall, also in the Fylde, induced seismicity measuring 2.3ML, prompting reports from people who felt it from across the area.

This evening Cuadrilla said:

“The Preston New Road exploration site is the most regulated and monitored site in Europe and the systems in place are working as they should.

“Minor movements of this level are to be expected and are way below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property.

“All the relevant regulators were informed and we have verified that the well integrity is intact.”

The company has posted a video online about 1.6ML earth tremors, using a glass of milk to demonstrate the impact.

Local reaction: “Living in fear” – local residents respond to 1.6ML tremor

PNR tremor tracker 2019

Updated 22/8/2019 to add revised bubble chart

39 replies »

  1. Perhaps it was nothing to do with the fracking Peter and just a random tremor. Seems oil and gas have experience of that, even without fracking-see HH!! Trailing event or random event?

    • Martin, what absolute tosh!

      Only earthquake activity onshore at the Fylde for decades has been scuentifically linked to Cuadrilla’s fracking operations otherwise the BGS wouldn’t put that in a separate category on their website.

      God knows how many earthquakes around Weeton Army Camp when Preese Hall was fracked by Cuadrilla, Site closed down immediately!

      Same again at Preston New Road fracking site last Autumn, site closed down and equipment removed by Cuadrilla or the bailiffs!

      Seriously large number of earthquakes, tremors really around Preston New Road fracking site after Cuadrilla resumed fracking last week until last night’s pair of Red Light trailing earthquakes which were felt and heard by numerous local Fracking halted for a minimum of 18 hours.

      [Edited by moderator]

      • You did ask for speculation, Peter, so I offered mine. There will be loads more available to you and you can pick the one that fits your viewpoint.

        Seems you love speculation but want to restrict it amongst others, even when you ask for it!

        [Edited by moderator]

    • Such man made tremors are most likely to occur, in any parts of the world, depending on the earths Lowe crust and the further depth layers of it. Drilling disrupts the manual rocks, soils is getting damaged, it is a well known fact. Like when one injures or cuts the skin the would, the severity depends how deep it is. Not only gas or oil drilling but even the deep mining also damages the earths inner natural structure causing such treamers or many times leads to major earthquakes
      There are many studies on such tremors , man-made earthquakes were carried out by geologists, perhaps n caution all of us to restrict any such activities if we want to save the earth. Earth matters a lot.Thanks.

    • Sir, such casual approach is the cause for major problems and lets not forget there are many such tremors noted in USA also. Besides the tremors for years USAalso banned shale gas fracturing due to the pollution it causes underground water n other natural areas underneath.During Shale gas fracturing huge quantities of Acid is also used , which is pumped in.

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