Continuing a trend of earthquakes in regions not necessarily known for them, Ohio joined Oklahoma with a 4.0-magnitude quake on New Year’s Eve. No damage has been reported at this time, but seismologists do believe that fracking is the cause of the activity. Saturday’s earthquake was the largest one of 2011 where nine others were recorded, all being 2.7-magnitude or lower. These quakes were so small that no one except seismologists were even aware that they happened. However, the University of Columbia was actively collecting information about the sudden burst of seismic activity throughout the year and was already leaning on Northstar Disposal Services in Youngstown to halt or reduce its fracking operations.
Even more interesting is that the University of Columbia’s pleas were finally answered on Friday, just one day before the strongest quake yet. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer publicly announced that the fluid-injection well in Youngstown would be stopped immediately. No word on what the director has to say in light of this latest event. It certainly appears that they knew they had made a mistake and pulled out ahead of something more major they knew was to come. Of course, they will probably categorically deny this. It will be interesting to see what Northstar has to say in the coming days and whether the earthquake activity stops now that fracking has ceased.