Earthquakes are becoming more and more frequent these days in oil regions of the U.S., including the Permian Basin.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) officials have confirmed that a 3.1 magnitude earthquake shook the ground in the Permian Basin. The earthquake took place off of Highway 285, north of Fort Stockton on Sunday at 4:16 pm. There have been no injuries or damages reported. According to USGS data, this earthquake is the fourth on to take place in the Permian this year. What is causing the earthquakes to occur so frequently is still being debated.
As reported by the San Antonio Business Journal, “Three earthquakes were recorded in the same area in late March and early April while similar earthquakes have been reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and south of San Antonio in the Eagle Ford Shale region.” On Monday, a 3.3 magnitude quake was recorded. At 1:14 pm, just 3 miles south-southwest of Farmers Branch, the USGS confirmed the quake. Last Thursday, the USGS also confirmed a 4.0 magnitude quake in the Mexican state of Coahuila.
Studies from all over the nation are linking the cause of the earthquakes to disposal wells. The wells consist of salty wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling. However, the debate over the cause of the earthquakes has two sides. Steve Everley from Energy In Depth, which is funded by the oil industry, explained that he is skeptical about the models that were used during the studies, specifically studies conducted by the USGS and Southern Methodist University.