RUMBLINGS OF DISCONTENT - UPDATED Sept. 7, 2013 with most recent quake activity listed & commercial disposal wells located in Rusk County near the KXL mapped -
May of 2012 saw multiple earthquakes (call them preshocks (?!), aftershocks, or tremblers, if you like) in the Timpson, Texas vicinity. More quakes have occurred since then. Those indicated below were only the more notable, as the USGS does not report earthquakes with magnitudes less than 2.0. Numerous smaller quakes were felt in the area both before and since the dates indicated.
- May 10, 2012 - 3.9 magnitude, NW of Timpson
- May 17, 2012 - 4.8 magnitude, ENE of Timpson
- May 20,2012 - 2.7 magnitude, SSW of Timpson
- May 26,2012 - 2.5 magnitude, SE of Timpson
- June 16,2012 - 2.1 magnitude, near Timpson
- Dec. 7, 2012 - 2.8 magnitude, near Timpson
- Dec. 22, 2012 - 2.6 magnitude, near Timpson
- Jan. 25, 2013 - 4.1 magnitude, Timpson
- Jan. 29, 2013 - 2.8 magnitude, near Timpson
- Jan. 31, 2013 - 2.7 magnitude, near Timpson
- Sept. 2, 2013 - 4.1 magnitude, near Timpson
- Sept. 2, 2013 - 4.3 magnitude, near Timpson
- Sept. 6, 2013 - 2.4 magnitude, near Timpson
It just so happens that these quakes occurred on the eastern edge of the Mt. Enterprise fault zone, in an area where there are seven to ten deep-injection wells1. So, what does that have to do with tar sands? Let's look at the conclusion presented in the March, 2011, Lawrence G. Dunbar report titled "Effects of Keystone XL Pipeline Leak into Carizzo-Wilcox Aquifer"2.
"... the fact that the proposed route of this pipeline will be directly through the Mount Enterprise Fault Zone will only increase the probability of a spill."
A break in the pipeline, as could be expected by the stress forces applied to the pipe and to its welded joints by seismic activity in this fault zone, would have catastrophic effects, spilling tar sands crude oil (dilbit) into the ground. Again, from the Dunbar report:
"The major rivers in this area are recognized as being perennial and gain flow from the underlying geology, such as the Carrizo- Wilcox Aquifer. And with this crude oil being heavier than water, the cleaning up of such an oil spill and removal of the contamination from the water resources in the area would be extremely difficult. ...special precautions need to be taken to minimize the likelihood that any of this hazardous liquid material could escape and enter into the water resources in the area in the event of a spill. The consequences of such a spill migrating into the groundwater and/or surface water are significant enough to necessitate a design that can assure the users of these water resources that their source of water is not at risk of being contaminated by tar sands crude oil."
What do deep-injection wells have to do with this?
Studies3,4 conducted over many years and in various parts of the country have shown a correlation between the high-pressure injection of liquid wastewater thousands of feet deep into the underlying rock and earthquakes. The combination of the increased pressures and the lubricating effect of the liquids being injected is enough to cause the earth to shift without warning. This is particularly problematic in an existing fault zone.
The problem here is the very real threat that a pipeline carrying tar sands crude oil, buried under the Angelina River headwaters in the porous sediment of the Carizzo-Wilcox aquifer, and crossing the Mt. Enterprise fault zone, will be weakened or ruptured outright by future earthquakes. As pointed out before, these issues were never fully addressed by the Cardno-Entrix mock-study conducted in response to TransCanada's initial permit request from the U.S. State Department. Now TransCanada is pushing ahead with its plans, in spite of the writing on the wall, and with nothing in Texas governmental structure to prevent it.
Maybe Tran$Canada has already acted on this potentiality and has modified its plans for the pipeline structure so that it can withstand earthquakes in its path. Surely they wouldn't need for the EPA, or some other regulatory agency to tell them they need to build their pipeline with these highly probable scenarios in mind. They have our best interests in mind. After all, expediting construction of the "Gulf Coast" segment to avoid permitting hassles isn't being done to get around these concerns, it's so we'll all have cheaper fuel.
Besides, we all know that Tran$Canada, its CEOs, PR people, and stockholders, will take full responsibility for the millions of dollars required for cleanup of any and all spills and leaks.
We will hold them accountable for their criminal negligence that results in the poisoning and deaths of citizens exposed to their toxic tar sands crude.
1. Texas Town Rocked By Unusual Quakes Suspects Natural Gas Drilling
2. Effects of Keystone XL Pipeline Leak into Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer
3. The Denver Earthquakes (Science, Sept.68)
4. Earthquakes Linked To Natural Gas Drilling's Waste Water Wells
Place cursor over image below to enlarge.
this image illustrates surface fault traces; other images within the above referenced publication show traces of subsurface faulting, ranging from 2000 to 10,000 feet in depth
the Talco fault zone, which the KXL would cross in Hopkins, Wood, and Smith Counties, is also shown in the publication.
the large map now shows locations of commercial disposal wells within two to three miles of the Keystone XL pipeline in Rusk & Cherokee Counties.