|Fault lines in Victoria. The area to the East of Melbourne is Gippsland.|
A local exploration company is quoted as saying that "the fracking process presented minimal risk to the area" (around Gippsland) and "There's been hundreds and hundreds of fracks in Australia for over 25 years without environmental harm from one incidence of fracking", (link) however, the process is acknowledge to have set off earth tremors in other parts of the world (link). This statement about safety is at odds with other reports. (See Quit Coal).
There is evidence that "fracking can trigger earthquakes, [yet in Britain] experts said there was a "very low" chance that it could spark one large enough to cause any significant damage". I sound like a nit picking old fusspot, but that comment doesn't fill me with confidence either. Not at all. The word "significant" is telling. It implies that if someone deems damage from a human induced earth tremor is "insignificant" that's perfectly normal and acceptable. (my emphasis)
link) The area around Korumburra in Gippsland where last night's epicenter occurred is active.
Call me a kill-joy if you will, but wouldn't it therefore be really, really sensible NOT to poke and prod at the fault lines near Korumburra by forcing all sorts of chemicals and liquids deep into the earth at high velocity to explode the rock? (Information on fracking here and more on Human Induced Earthquakes here)
There's evidence of contaminated water supplies, unusable pastures and farmland and other negatives after fracking has occurred; all of which have been deemed acceptable to the powers that be. But it seems that we're way out of our depth (excuse the pun). We simply don't really know what we're unleashing when we allow fracking to occur.
To me it's like prodding and poking at a sleeping giant just to see how much irritation it will tolerate before retaliating, possible in a manner way beyond our widest imagination.
FFS, last night was scary - un-nerving and unsettling. My mud-brick home groaned and shuddered, the windows, paintings, glassware and china rattled as the ground shook with a deep, low grumbling sound. I now understand (in a very small way) the description I've heard of feeling motion sick during an earthquake. It was over in about 10 or so seconds. They were an unnaturally l o o o o n g 10 seconds. My hands were shaking for some time afterwards as I watched the standard lamp sway to a graceful, thankfully upright, stop.
We could put an end to this kind of exploration. We could invest in a variety of safe, clean, sustainable renewables with known positives and negatives. We should be cautious about waking our sleeping giant.
|Fracking image from QuitCoal|