Fracking investigated as possible cause of Fox Creek earthquake
A geophysicist is looking at whether hydraulic fracking caused a 4.4-magnitude earthquake recorded on Saturday near Fox Creek, Alta.
"We have to take time to analyze the records," said Jeff Gu, an associate professor at the University of Alberta.
"But from earlier events in the same area ... we found a strong correlation between the timing of these events, early events from late 2003, with three injection wells west of the town of Fox Creek."
"These earlier earthquakes related to Fox Creek were most likely, with a 99 per cent possibility, related to fracking."
In January, Fox Creek recorded two earthquakes with magnitudes of 3.8 and 4.4. The Alberta Energy Regulator said the Jan. 22 quake was likely caused by hydraulic fracking.
Gu said the magnitudes of earthquakes seem to be getting larger.
If the latest quakes are found to be caused by fracking, Gu said the industry may have to take more precautions.
Alberta Geological Survey now requires a temporary shutdown of operations after events of magnitude 4.0 or greater.
If fracking is found to be responsible, it could affect resource extraction around Fox Creek, which worries workers.
Dolton Iampen works for a company that processes the chemicals used for fracking. He said everyone was talking about Saturday's earthquake.
"Lots of people like to make jokes, saying it wasn't that big of a deal," he said.
"They don't want it to be a big deal. Because fracking is generally a huge part around town, a lot of fracking going on."
The Alberta Energy Regulator has launched an investigation into the cause of Saturday's earthquake.