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17th June 2015
Fracking operation on hold in wake of Fox Creek earthquake


An energy company has ceased its hydraulic fracturing operations in the Fox Creek area, in accord with regulations put in place by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), after seismic activity was detected on Saturday evening.

“The company has ceased operations until further notice from the AER,” AER spokesman Riley Bender said in an email Monday.

Just before 6 p.m. Saturday, Natural Resources Canada recorded a 4.4-magnitude quake 36 kilometres east of Fox Creek. Earthquakes with a magnitude between 3.5 and 5.4 are described on NRC’s website as “often felt, but rarely cause damage.”

Bender said the regulator is still investigating the incident, but that there have been no reported impacts to the public, infrastructure or the environment.

University of Calgary geophysicist David Eaton confirmed Monday that he has dispatched a team of researchers to the Fox Creek area to install portable equipment in the Fox Creek area.

“The goal is to record small events (i.e., aftershocks) that will help to obtain additional information about the sequence of activity, such as location, depth, and seismicity pattern,” Eaton said in an email.

Eaton and his team used seismographs to record aftershocks generated by earthquakes, some of which were felt by Fox Creek residents, following a quake with a magnitude of 4.4 on Jan. 22.

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