Is natural gas drilling causing Ohio earthquakes?

A natural gas drilling rig in Wyoming. / Source: Bureau of Land Management

New monitoring equipment will help determine whether earthquakes in northeast Ohio are resulting from the disposal of brine used in natural gas drilling.

"ODNR is very closely monitoring and will continue to monitor the seismic events in the Youngstown well area," Deputy director Andy Ware of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources told The Vindicator. "This equipment will be able to provide us with immediate reporting and accurate analysis of an event's epicenter."

Ware said that four new seismographs have been set up in the Youngstown area, which has seen eight minor earthquakes this year. The latest was a 2.1-magnitude quake that occurred Nov. 25 just a few blocks from a brine injection well.

Brine pumped underground by the well is a byproduct of fracking, which uses water laced with chemicals to free up gas locked in underground shale.

The company that owns the well has said the brine is injected at pressures that are regulated by the state and are safe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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