Seems sensible

Fracking laws on earthquakes could be relaxed to encourage more drilling, the energy minister has suggested.

Homeowners living near Britain’s shale gas sites may have to put up with more powerful earth tremors under plans revealed in a letter by Claire Perry.

The current rules can force frackers to down tools following even a minor quake measuring above 0.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.

A tremor of this intensity would be barely perceptible to most residents, but would register as a ‘red’ on the Government’s fracking safety traffic light.

It’s difficult to say that a tremor of that intensity actually exists.

Anyway, these rules were put in place to kneecap fracking in the first place. Want fracking, relax the rules.

17 comments on “Seems sensible

  1. Fracking causes earthquakes?? How exactly?

    Minor quakes happen all the time. So Fracking has to stop every time a minor quake kicks off?

    Fire an MP every time there is a minor quake. That makes much more sense.

  2. The Richter scale is only now used by ignorant reporters.

    The available instrumentation can detect human footfall at a considerable distance and heartbeats on 40 ton truck.

    If the anti frackers had their way we’d all be forced to wear 2 inch sponge soled seismic creeper shoes to avoid disturbing earthworms.

    The “anti” tosspottery wrt to “fracking” seems endless.

  3. Seriously? 0.5? Living as I do now in NZ all this UK fracking quake worry seems very, very silly. Never mind ‘barely perceptible’, you can’t even detect quakes of this size without equipment. Anything less than mag 3 and no-one will notice it unless it’s very near and very shallow. And even then it will feel more like someone driving a van past your house.There have been 15 earthquakes greater than mag 0.5 in the UK in the last month. There’s been that many (and mostly a wee bit bigger) here in the last ten hours.

  4. Isn’t it the case that small earthquakes release tension that if left to build up would eventually create a larger one? So fracking could really be seen as a preventative measure, not a causative one?

  5. Humans can’t detect a quake below 2.0, I get quakes of about 2.5 every time a bus goes past my flat. 0.5 is on the borders of detectivity of modern equipment, you’d get more than that with a horse walking past.

    From memory, 1.0 is 1um movement 100km from the source, and as it’s a logrithmic scale, 0.5 is 0.7um movement.

  6. If you want experience the awesome majesty and power of a a Force 3 earthquake, hold a medium weight bowling ball at arms length and drop it. And it’s a log scale too, so a 4 is ten times more powerful than a 3. Getting down below 1.5-2.0 is essentially undetectable without equipment

  7. Dear Mr Worstall

    When I were a lad there was a bus stop just outside our house, 40-50 feet from the bay window. Every time a bus set off, the windows would rattle and things shake in the front rooms.

    Worse than that, it did something terrible to the telly.

    We lived not far from the Fylde. Perhaps when the protesters get bored with anti-fracking campaigns they could picket every bus stop.

    Coal mining used to cause major subsidence at the surface, and probably earthquakes too, without anyone trying to ban it. In fact the protesters seemed to want to keep coalmining going at huge cost to the country.

    Odd.

    DP

  8. Dear Milquetoasts:

    Dinna fash th’ sen. Nothing to worry about for a Country whose Industrial Revolution relied on deep mined coal.

    The tunnels often went near or under houses, shops, roads, businesses. There was the subsidence, cracks in walls, sagging doorways, vibration from the underground digging and ‘earth-quakes’ from underground blasting or gas explosions. I wonder how high they went on the Richter Scale? My aunt used to say if she sat quietly in the parlour she could sometimes hear the voices of miners in the tunnels beneath the house.

    Yet somehow the Nation survived.

  9. Surely it’s a question of property rights? In the past it went from the centre of the earth to the edge of the atmosphere. If the government just returned that which is rightfully ours then they could stop any fracking. Which would be great for shits and giggles

  10. @FA
    The Richter Scale is logarithmic, but it’s to base 32 – so a 4 is 32x more powerful than a 3 (some Internet sites get this wrong, but the USGS and WikiP agree).

  11. ChrisM,

    Well I didn’t know that (base 32), thanks.

    I also see that n Wiki that the scale starts at 1 as a micro tremor so 0.5 really is nothing.

  12. Wiki compares a 0.5 quake to a hand grenade going off (a mile underground). It’s a bit like pollution – our fantastic technology now allows us to detect concentrations at parts per billion (or even trillion) and we find pollution absolutely everywhere! But sola dosis facit venenum (as Paracelsus knew in the early 16th century).

  13. @ Chris Miller October 10, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Indeed. Water is deadly if you drink enough (about 4 gallons). Under the precautionary principal beloved of ‘public health’ and other zealots, therefore there is no safe level of water consumption.

    Put down that glass and move away from that tap now!

    DP

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