Insight: Arkansas lawsuits test fracking wastewater link to quakes

 Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Tony Davis, a 54-year-old construction worker in central Arkansas, said he welcomed the boom in natural gas drilling that brought jobs and new businesses to his hometown starting about a decade ago. But that was before the earth shook. In 2010 and 2011, the quiet farming town of Greenbrier, Arkansas, was rattled by a swarm of more than 1,000 minor earthquakes. The biggest, with a magnitude of 4.7, had its epicenter less than 1,500 feet from Davis’s front porch. "This should not be happening in Greenbrier," Davis recalls thinking. He said the shaking damaged the support beams under an addition to his home. Then came another surprise: University of Memphis and Arkansas Geological Survey scientists said the quakes were likely triggered by the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as fracking - into deep, underground wells.