Fracking site in Lancashire has second tremor in 24 hours

A fracking site in Lancashire has recorded a second earth tremor in 24 hours. The two tremors have occurred just eleven days after the fracking site got the go ahead.

The fracking site, at Preston New Road in Lancashire, is the only active fracking site in the United Kingdom.

When Cuadrilla Resources detected the first quake – a 0.76 magnitude tremor – it suspended all operations. The Lancashire-based company said it expected to resume work on Sunday (today).

The oil and gas exploration company described the earth movement as a ‘micro seismic event.’ In other words, it described it as a super-tiny earth tremor.

Fracking site – one red event

Any tremor above 0.5 magnitude is a ‘red event‘ or β€˜red incident.’ When there is a red event, the fracking site has to stop operations. In other words, the fracking company must stop injecting water and monitor the site for further seismic activity.

Since the fracking site came into operation on 15th October 2018, it has registered eighteen earth tremors. However, only one of them was a red event.

Fracking site earth tremors Lancashire
Cuadrilla has registered two tremors in 24 hours at its fracking site in Lancashire. (Image: adapted from cuadrillaresources.com)

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla Resources said:

“This is not a β€˜red’ incident under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority as we were not pumping fracturing liquid as part of our hydraulic fracturing operations at the time.”

“However, we will, as always, continue to monitor the seismic activity closely and plan to resume hydraulic fracturing on Monday.”

Fracking site – work suspended for 18 hours

The 0.70 magnitude tremor on Saturday (yesterday), was a red event. On Saturday, Cuadrilla made the following statement in a press release:

“Cuadrilla was hydraulically fracturing the shale rock adjacent to a horizontal well at the time and the seismicity is classed as a red event in line with the traffic light monitoring system regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).”

“Operations have now paused for the next 18 hours during which seismicity levels will continue to be measured. The British Geological Survey (BGS) records seismicity to one decimal place and therefore have recorded the event as 0.8ML (local magnitude).”

Micro seismic events harmless

Cuadrilla says that such micro seismic events do not cause any damage or harm on the surface. They are micro earth movements that happen below ground. Humans on the surface cannot feel them.

Previous earth tremors in Lancashire

This fracking site is not the only one to register earth tremors in Lancashire. In 2011, a 1.5 magnitude tremor brought all activity to a halt on the Fylde Coast. It was the second quake in two months.

The current fracking site is the first fracking activity to occur in the UK since 2011.