Risk zones expanded to include human-induced earthquakes

In this photo provided by Vincent Nusunginya, items fallen from the shelves litter the aisles inside a Safeway grocery store following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on the Kenai Peninsula on Sunday Jan. 24, 2016, in south-central Alaska. The quake knocked items off shelves and walls in south-central Alaska and jolted the nerves of residents in this earthquake prone region, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (Vincent Nusunginya via the AP)

COLUMBUS (WCMH)–A new series of United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps locates national earthquake hazard zones, identifying for the first time both human-induced and natural earthquake frequencies.

Although the number of earthquakes linked to fracking and wastewater well–injection processes in Ohio has decreased recently, four eastern counties–Belmont, Harrison, Guernsey and Washington–are at a higher risk for tremors in 2016, and in the overall USGS 50-year risk forecast.

The results show that about 7 million people are in the risk zones in the central and eastern U.S., areas that are susceptible to damage from ground-shaking quakes.

Wastewater disposal from oil and gas production operations has been linked to earthquakes in northeastern Ohio since 2011, along with other parts of the country, caused by high-pressure injection into deep rock formations, below aquifers that are used for drinking water, according to the USGS report.

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