Those at the United States Geological Survey has noticed such a spike in manmade earthquakes that they had to change their maps. For the first time ever, researchers generated hazard maps with manmade earthquakes alongside natural seismic activity. Between this, the collapse of bee colonies, and climate change in general we can say with confidence that humans seem too be hellbent on destroying the planet.
In an unprecedented maneuver, the USGS has published their updated earthquake hazard maps to reflect both natural and manmade disasters. Gizmodo reports that back in 1973 the US only experienced 24 earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or higher. Between 2009 and 2015 that number jumped to 318. Just this year, central US has had 226 huge quakes so far. So, just what is causing this increase?
Related: Abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking methane across the USA
While some may point the finger at fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, the scientific community finds that wastewater disposal from more traditional oil and gas collection is far more influential. The USGS said, “While most injection wells are not associated with earthquakes, some other wells have been implicated in published scientific studies.” Generally, the increasing production of gas and oil is driving up the rates of manmade seismic activity. Fracking has specifically been linked in some cases and continues to be investigated for its full effect on the environment.
Currently, seven million Americans are living near areas highly susceptible to manmade earthquakes. It is estimated that these areas could be just as active as California’s quake-prone lands. Let’s hope the rise of alternative energy is speedy enough to mitigate the damage we have already done.
Images via Wikipedia, USGS