Will the earth move for you?

We woke up this morning to earn that Mosser in Cumbria (NW of Buttermere) had been the epicentre of the UK’s latest significant earthquake (Mag 3.2) , following the one in Wales 2 weeks ago (Mag 4.6).

The location of this quake is about 60 miles from the centre of Cuadrilla’s PEDL 165.

The earth tremors allegedly caused by Cuadrilla at Preese Hall in 2011 were nowhere near as powerful as either of the two recent quakes, measuring as they did 2.3 on the Richter scale on April 1st 2011, followed by an event in May that measured 1.5 on the scale.  However, the two 2011 tremor were sufficient to deform the well casing of the Preese Hall well. On that occasion the integrity of the well bore was not compromised but it clearly demonstrated the potential for a pollution event being caused by seismic activity.

Because of the logarithmic basis of the Richter scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value. So as we can see the two naturally occurring earthquakes in the last couple of weeks would have had the power to do rather more damage to any sub-surface infrastructure close to their epicentres than the quakes at Preese Hall did.

Maybe this is why Professor Mike Stephenson – Director of Science and Technology – British Geological Survey went on record as saying:

“What you have to be able to do when you decide you want to hydraulic fracture is make sure there are no faults in the area. That’s really very very important”

Is the Fylde a faulted area? It would appear that it is! Draw your own conclusions.

(Image courtesy of Prof David Smythe)

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