CU Study Links Earthquakes In Southern Colorado To Oil And Gas Production

Oct 25, 2017

Credit SARAH&BOSTON / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A new study by the University of Colorado has found more evidence that links earthquakes along the Colorado-New Mexico border to wastewater injection wells, similar to human-caused quakes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

As The Denver Post reports, a paper published last week by researchers at the University of Colorado concluded that the increase in quakes since 2001 in the Raton Basin of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado has been caused by wells that inject wastewater from oil and gas production back from underground.

The paper found that the wastewater, which comes from wells that extract natural gas from underground coal beds, caused a big enough increase in underground pressure to make rock formations slip along fault lines.

The study also found that Raton Basin earthquakes were more widespread than previously thought – 1,881 quakes between 2008 and 2010. The biggest quake was a magnitude of 5.3 in 2011.