BC's biggest fracking quake yet? 4.6 felt by residents north of Fort St. John

BC’s biggest fracking quake yet? 4.6 felt by residents north of Fort St. John


BC's biggest fracking quake yet? 4.6 felt by residents north of Fort St. John

Republished from the ECOreport.

A recent  earthquake near Wonowon, 100 km north of Fort St. John,  is the largest of over 500 seismic events in northeastern BC, believed to be related to hydraulic fracturing. It may be remembered as BC’s 4.6m fracking quake.

“Likely induced by hydraulic fracturing”

Though the connection has not yet been proven, the quake’s epicentre was just 3 kilometres from Progress Energy’s fracking site. The company immediately shut down operations and notified the province’s oil and gas commission.

“It’s still under investigation, but it was likely induced by hydraulic fracturing,” said Alan Clay, the commission’s communications manager.

History of tremors

Toxic flowback fluid from hydraulic fracking (Photo: Upstream Pumping Solutions).
Frack fluid disposal equipment (Photo: Upstream Pumping Solutions).

When the commission monitored seismic events in this area, during the fourteen months ending in October 2014, they “found that during this period 231 seismic events in the Montney were attributed to oil and gas operations – 38 induced by wastewater disposal and 193 by hydraulic fracturing operations. None of the recorded events resulted in any injuries, property damage or loss of wellbore containment.”

A previous study, in the province’s Horn River Basin,(2012) documented 272 seismic events” that “were caused by fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing in proximity to pre-existing faults” between April 2009 and December 2011.

Though most of these seismic events were also too slight to be felt, the Wonowon quake is different.

“Everyone here felt it”

“Everybody here felt it. I was sitting in my medic truck and I felt the whole thing shake. Some light towers were shaking,”  Kaila Walton told the Alaska Highway News.

“My house got shook. My couch I was on was actually shaking with me. It dawned on me it could be earthquake, but it could be fracking in the area. I don’t think they should continue fracking,” Bernice Lilly told the CBC.

Magnitudes growing

There have also been quakes across the border, in the Fox Creek area of Alberta. Prior to the commencement of fracking operations in 2013, this region had one measurable quake a year. There have been at least 160 “small” quakes since then and two measuring 4.4 this year.

According to Gail Atkinson, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Induced Seismicity Hazards at Ontario’s Western University, “the magnitudes have been increasing every year.”


About Roy Hales

Roy L Hales is the founder/editor of the ECOreport (http://theecoreport.com/). He started writing feature articles for weekly publications in 1982 and his work is published on websites like Clean Technica, Renewable Energy World, East County Magazine, The Watershed Sentinel and PV SolarReport. He lives on Cortes Island in BC.

3 thoughts on “BC’s biggest fracking quake yet? 4.6 felt by residents north of Fort St. John

  1. A real conversation that seems surreal:

    “You finally admit that fracking has turned your state into one giant Brookstone massage chair, and your first response is to ensure that no one can ever stop it,” he says to the state of Oklahoma. “Why?”

    A news clip of University of Washington seismologist John Vidale answers. Vidale says current practice is the cheapest option, “and it works well, except for the earthquakes and the contamination of groundwater.”


  2. I didnt realize that the industry pumps the “waste water back under ground.
    I naively assumed it was treated to seperate the toxins.
    What are these idiots in govt thinking when they allow this S@#T to happen?
    I wonder when someone will be killed in a fracking induced earthquake?

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