Natural gas drilling might be the cause of Texas earthquakes

Posted by Alan Kafka, on June 12, 2009

On June 2, 2009 Cleburne, Texas experienced its first recorded earthquake in its history. This earthquake, and four more that have since occurred, have raised the question of whether drilling for natural gas is causing the quakes.

This is another one of those situations where scientists don’t know what the answer is, and where people are looking for a simple, yes or no, answer in a case where science can not provide that level of certainty.

The above linked article cites two opposite opinions on this question, both from scientists, and it might be possible that both conclusions are consistent with the data:

“Cliff Frohlich, a scientist at the University of Texas and author of ‘Texas Earthquakes,’ said he believes more than 20 Texas earthquakes in the past 100 years are related to drilling for petroleum and gas.”


“John Breyer, a petroleum geologist and professor at Texas Christian University, said drilling is absolutely not causing the earthquakes.”

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