Thursday, May 16, 2019

Induced Earthquakes Presentation

In the wake of two local earthquakes that occurred in early March in the foothills west of Red Deer, the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) hosted an information session at the Crammond Hall near Caroline on May 8.

Todd Shipman from the Alberta Energy Regulator

Main presenter to a packed hall was Todd Shipman, Senior Advisor on Induced Seismicity and Geohazards  with the Alberta Energy Regulator (
The meeting was facilitated by Tracey McCrimmond, Executive Director of SPOG (

After an initial introduction to the subject of seismicity, Shipman emphasized the fact that "all earthquakes happen on faults", be they induced by human activity or naturally occurring.

In order to regulate fracking operations in the oil and gas industry a seismic "traffic light system" has been established by the AER where the red light signal to industry comes on when a 4.0 or larger magnitude earthquake possibly induced by fracking occurs. Operations must cease immediately.

Between a 2.0 and 4.0 measurement by local seismic instruments, the AER must be informed and the company response plan must be invoked. Below 2.0 no action is required. That was the case until the Sylvan Lake Earthquake, west of Red Deer occurred at 5:55 am MST on March 4 this year.

In light of that event, the AER issued recommendations on March 15 to reduce the red light number to 3.0 and the yellow light number to 1.0 because of ground movements felt by people over a wide area.

Another quake occurred a few days later in the Rocky Mountain House area, adding to local concerns, but Shipman suggested that it may have had natural causes.

A question and answer session followed the main presentation with many concerns being raised by those present.

To listen to the whole recorded presentation, including questions and answers, go to my SoundCloud account here:

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