The May 2011 earthquake in Lorca, which measured 5.1 on the Richter scale, was Spain’s deadliest since 1956. It was triggered following a 250-meter (820-foot) drop in groundwater from pumping since the 1960s ruptured the Earth’s crust along the Alhama de Murcia faultline, according to the study led by Pablo J. Gonzalez of the University of Western Ontario.
The shallow-depth quake at 2-4 kilometers (1.2 to 2.5 miles) in one of the highest seismic risk areas in Spain was “human-induced” by groundwater changes, the study said. The results imply that anthropogenic or manmade activities “could influence how and when earthquakes occur.”
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, blasts water mixed with sand and chemicals underground to free trapped hydrocarbons from shale formations. The disposal of saltwater and used fracking fluids in deep injection wells sometimes impacts fault lines and has caused small quakes in such places as Ohio though no deaths.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment