A Youngstown, Ohio underground natural gas wastewater disposal site was been closed 5 p.m. last Friday and will remain so until scientists can look over data from a recent string of earthquakes with increasing intensity there, according to a report from the New York Times.
Most of the brine and other waste liquids came from the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of natural gas wells in Pennsylvania. The latest quake, which occurred New Year's Day and was the 11th since March, had a magnitude of 4.0. It reportedly could be felt throughout northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, as well as in places as far away as West Virginia and Toronto.
Similar links between disposal sites and earthquakes are suspected in Arkansas and Texas, according to the article, and some scientists think the incidents may be a result of the wastewater leaking into deeper rock formations and causing fault slippage.
In Youngstown, state officials instituted a temporary moratorium on drilling waste sites within a five-mile radius of the well, the only in its area, after data came back from scientists at Columbia University analyzing a Dec. 24 quake on the site, the report says. Four more proposed disposal sites nearby will not open until the information from the latest quake can be looked over to help determine the fault's exact location.