Twelve times since March 2011, the earth has trembled in the Youngstown area, an area that has never been known for earthquake activity. The strongest was on Dec. 31, when a magnitude 4 tremor disturbed the area.
In the search for an explanation as to why so many quakes would occur in an area where none have been recorded before, attention has been drawn to a deep (9,184 feet) injection well that has been in operation since December 2010.
With the last tremors located near the deep well, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management decided to shut down the well, operated by Northstar Disposal Services, along with two others in the area, while the situation is studied.
Mike Hanson, coordinator of the Ohio Seismic Network, which monitors earthquake activity in Ohio for ODNR’s Division of Geological Survey, said that although there seems to be an association, not enough data is available yet to draw any firm conclusions. Hanson said this is a slow process and the people studying it are trying to be cautious.
The situation has made people concerned about the other 176 injection wells around the state. Could they cause earthquakes?