Timpson, TX Didn’t Have Earthquakes Before the Fracking Disposal Wells Came To Town

Contrary to Industry Claims Fracking-Induced Quakes Are Causing DamageWastewater storage well induced quakes

“We never had these before they started punching all them holes in the ground”*

Add Timpson, TX to the list of places that are just going to have to get used to frequent earthquakes created by oil and gas exploration. Due to the small east Texas town’s geologic location, it should not be earthquake prone at all. And up until 2011, earthquakes were something that happened every few decades, and those were tiny.Now, suddenly, the area is experiencing lots of quakes, and they are not mild. A 45 second temblor on Labor Day 2013 was rated 4.1 and it was followed by another 4.8 quake a few hours later. The quakes originated three miles deep and caused minor property damage. Since 2011 there have also been minor gas leaks caused by ruptured pipes along with broken sewer and water mains. Residential chimneys sustained some damage, and gravestones at a nearby cemetery have fallen over during the quakes.What has changed? Well, it was about two years ago that the gas exploration boys** began to sink injection disposal wells for wastewater generated by the gas fracking boom in the area. (If you don’t know what these are, you can read about it here.) Shelby County now has 27 such injection wells where there were none before, storing millions of gallons of toxic brine deep in the rock. Shelby County now has surprisingly frequent and surprisingly powerful quakes where there were none before. Coincidence or conspiracy?Far from being a unique situation, the quakes at Timpson are only another example of human induced earthquakes created by wastewater disposal wells. The most powerful such series rocked Prague, OK with 5+ quakes between Nov. 5 and 8, 2011. There was significant damage done in that incident, including the buckling of a highway. Small expenses perhaps, but picked up by the taxpayers while the oil profits go into the pockets of the drillers.Earthquake swarms caused by wastewater injection wells have occurred in Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, Virginia and Wyoming. As the fracking onslaught gathers steam, there are going to be a lot more, but the government is not going to do anything about it – especially in petro states such as Texas and Louisiana. At this point, the expense are small, but nevertheless paid for up by the taxpayers while the oil profits go into the pockets of the drillers. Protected by $600 an hour attorneys, the gas and oil companies aren’t likely to foot the bill for damage to infrastructure or for the contamination of water supplies.

When CatastropheMap first began reporting on wastewater well induced earthquakes, some loyal readers thought it was a joke or parody. In reality, geologists have proven the wastewater well cause and effect scenario far beyond any possibility of “coincidence” and in some cases, state Geological Departments have shut down disposal wells in the affected areas. Read Section 1 of our Human Induced Earthquake series.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing about this and similar stories is that the locals – with a few exceptions – always claim to be getting used to it. Please sir, may I have another.


*Lifelong resident James Box, 64 was quoted in the Shreveport Times.
** Girls don’t do this sort of thing.

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