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We have been hearing more reports of earthquakes here in South Texas, specifically the Smiley, Nixon, and Gonzales areas.  As reported by Crossroads Today this past weekend. An earthquake of 3.3 magnitudes was centered near Smiley on Saturday. Another earthquake of 2.6 magnitude was also detected near Smiley on Saturday.

I researched this topic a little further and according to the USGS website. There have actually been a total of thirty-three(1.8-3.3 magnitude) reported earthquakes in this general area that started happening on Super Bowl Sunday on February 7th. Before that date, nothing much. So the question is, why are these happening?  See the technical response from the United States Geological Survey below.


Most will say fracking and I know fracking and drilling have been going on for some time in our areas. So I have reached out to the USGS to find out why these quakes just started all of sudden in February and have been increasing.  Drilling and fracking have been going on much longer than this. Be on the lookout for a follow-up story with more information.

While earthquakes are not directly caused by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The two are connected. The recent increase in earthquakes is primarily caused by the disposal of waste fluids that are a byproduct of oil production.  How does this cause an earthquake? Wastewater disposal wells typically operate for longer durations and inject much more fluid than is injected during the hydraulic fracturing process, making them more likely to induce earthquakes. 

The largest earthquake induced by fluid injection that has been documented in the scientific literature was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on September 23, 2016, in central Oklahoma. Four magnitude 5+ earthquakes have occurred in Oklahoma, three of which occurred in 2016. In 2011.  So these quakes could become more common as work continues down here.

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