People living around Cuadrilla’s shale gas site reported shaking buildings and windows last night from a 2.1ML tremor.
This is the strongest seismic event so far induced by fracking at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool. It brings to more than 90 the number of tremors since fracking resumed at the site less than a fortnight ago.
Within minutes of the tremor, there were reports that people had felt it from surroundings towns and villages including Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Peel, Kirkham, Wrea Green, Great Plumpton and Lytham St Annes.
Angry local opponents of the industry called for an immediate moratorium before “serious injury or damage is done”.
The British Geological Survey gave the tremor a score of 3 points on the EMS Intensities scale (where 1 is lowest and 12 highest).
There was no fracking yesterday and DrillOrDrop understands the last fracture at Preston New Road was on Friday (23 August 2019).
Cuadrilla issued a statement at 12.49am this morning, which said the tremor was detected at 11.01pm and measured 2.23ML.
A spokesperson said the tremor lasted about 1 second and resulted in ground motion of less than 1.5mm/second. This measures what people feel at the surface and was more than three times higher than the largest previous ground movement recorded at Preston New Road.
An updated company statement at 2.04am reduced the magnitude to 2.1ML. Fracking was not happening at the time, the statement said.
A company spokesperson said well integrity had been unaffected and all the relevant regulators had been informed. The spokesperson added:
“Minor ground movements of this level are to be expected. Whilst this event has been felt by people on our site and some local households, it is well below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property.”
Shortly after the tremor, a spokesperson for Preston New Road Action Group told DrillOrDrop.
“This tremor feels like it has been the biggest yet with reports coming in from Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Kirkham and Wrea Green within minutes of it occurring. Several reports of windows and building shaking.
“This terrifying experience is being imposed on our community by an unnecessary and unwanted industry.
“The Government should see sense and re-impose the fracking moratorium immediately before any serious injury or damage is done. Enough is enough.”
A spokeswoman for Frack Free Lancashire said:
“We are livid that we are once again, being put in harm’s way for an experiment that we didn’t ask to be part of.
“Why are our communities being forced to accept this dangerous and contemptuous industry, when it is clear that they have zero control over the impacts that fracking brings with it?
“There was no fracking today, and yet, the after-effect it has caused, is a sizeable earthquake with widespread reports of property damage. We are angry and demand an urgent reconsideration of a fracking moratorium.”
Under Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing plan, tremors measuring 0.5ML or more that happen after fracking operations are considered to be trailing events. The company must pause fracking for 18 hours and check well integrity.
Last night’s 2.1ML was almost as strong as the biggest tremor induced by Cuadrilla’s fracking operations. On 1 April 2011, the company caused a 2.3ML during its frack at Preese Hall, also in Lancashire.
The largest tremors induced by fracking at Preston New Road since 15 August have all been in the last four days.
All the tremors measuring 0.5ML or above were at latitudes 53.787 or 53.788. Three were reported as felt.
21 August 2019: 1.6 and 0.9
22 August 2019: 1.0
23 August 2019: 1.1
24 August 2019: 0.5 and 2.1
For more details see DrillOrDrop PNR tremor tracker 2019
At 9.42am, Cuadrilla said it had received just one report of damage. The company said it had written to people living near the site on how to get in touch.
Frack Free Lancashire said it knew of many people whose property had been damaged.
Updated 28 August 2019 to reference the EMS Intensities scale