It seems that Alberta has claimed another world record. This time it's for the magnitude of a fracking-induced earthquake, a 4.4-magnitude temblor last week at Fox Creek.
"The location of the earthquake is consistent with being induced by hydraulic fracturing operations," confirmed Peter Murchland, a spokesman for the Alberta Energy Regulator.
"The AER regards all changes in seismicity that have the potential to indicate an increased risk associated with hydrocarbon production seriously," Murchland added.
...For years industry and fracking experts argued the technology wouldn't cause quakes that could be felt on the surface.
But specialists in earthquake hazards such as Gail Atkinson, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Induced Seismicity Hazards at Ontario's Western University, argued the opposite.
"I have consistently maintained this kind of thing can happen," said Atkinson. "With fracking, the magnitudes have been increasing every year."
Natural Resources Canada reported a swarm of at least 15 earthquakes this January west of Fox Creek in a region where Encana, Talisman, Apache, Chevron Canada and ExxonMobile intensified the drilling and fracking of two-kilometre-long horizontal wells nearly a year ago.
These fracked earthquakes may also impact on the feasibility of underground carbon sequestration. The fossil fuelers regularly promise to capture CO2 emitted from extraction and processing that will then be liquefied under intense pressure and pumped underground. That CO2, if it leaks to the surface, is deadly and all it might take is a failed well cap or seismic rift to allow that to happen.