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Environment

Earthquakes And Fracking

April 6, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 14

Regarding the increasing interest in earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing, we are once again reminded that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it (C&EN, Feb. 16, page 9).

About 40 years ago, an experiment by the U.S. Geological Survey attempted to evaluate whether small earthquakes induced by lubricating minor faults with water could reduce the pressure buildup in a nearby major fault system. If my fading memory serves me correctly, the initial results were sufficiently worrisome that the experiments were terminated for fear of triggering a major tremor. Perhaps those results should be reviewed—or exposed.

David Vaughan
State College, Pa.

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