The U.S. Geological Survey is pointing to discarded wastewater from hydraulic fracturing sites as the cause of increased earthquake activity in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. Publishing in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, the scientists presented “several lines of evidence [that] suggest the earthquakes in the area are directly related to the disposal of wastewater” deep underground, according to a BSSA news release. “The USGS research is just the latest in a string of studies that have suggested the disposed water is migrating along dormant fault lines, changing their state of stress, and causing them to fail,” Atkin reports. “These quakes are usually too small to be felt, but scientists have warned that they stand to get stronger as more wastewater injection happens—a likelihood considering the growing expansion of fracking.”
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