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Fracking "not significant" in causing earthquakes

A new report by Durham University released today said the hydraulic fracturing process to extract shale gas - known as fracking - is “not significant” in causing earthquakes.

The research entitled Induced Seismicity and the Hydraulic Fracturing of Low Permeability Sedimentary Rocks found that almost all of the resultant seismic activity was on such a small scale that only geoscientists would be able to detect it.

Earthquakes caused from other manmade triggers such as mining, goethermal activity or reservoir water storage was much more likely than from fracking, the research showed.

“We have examined not just fracking-related occurrences but all induced earthquakes - that is, those caused by human activity - since 1929,” said Durham University professor Richard Davies who led the research.

“It is worth bearing in mind that other industrial-scale processes can trigger earthquakes including mining, filling reservoirs with water and the production of oil and gas.”

“So we have concluded that hydraulic fracturing is not a significant mechanism for inducing felt earthquakes. It is extremely unlikely that any of us will ever be able to feel an earthquake caused by fracking,” he added.

Energy secretary Ed Davey lifted a ban fracking in December after it caused two tremors in Lancashire in 2011.

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