The Texas Railroad Commission needs to move quickly to find the cause of a series of small earthquakes that hit the Azle area starting in November, several parties told a House subcommittee in Austin on Monday. “It is time to step up and confirm once and for all if disposal wells are to blame” for the seismic activity and formulate new rules government the wells, said Azle Mayor Alan Brundrett✔. The disposal wells inject waste water produced along with oil and natural gas, and those volumes have swelled with the growth of hydraulic fracturing.
Scientists at Southern Methodist University in Dallas told the hearing that they have continued to detect more than 300 quakes large enough to be recorded by multiple seismic monitors the school has deployed. There have been 27 recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey, but that count only includes quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, generally big enough to be felt at the surface. SMU seismologist Brian Stump said the school’s network of monitors has collected enough data to create an image of a fault under the area, and now needs to collaborate with others to collect data on nearby disposal wells and additional geophysical data.
-- Jim Fuquay