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Investigation Continues Into Wayne National Forest Earthquake Near Fracking Sites

File photo

Oil and gas drilling operations in southeastern Ohio were shut down on Sunday after a 3.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Wayne National Forest, according to the Ohio Environmental Council. The state continues to investigate the causes.

"Earthquakes in the area are uncommon, especially at such a magnitude," the release read.

Ohio's Department of Natural Resources said that the earthquake was not felt but the department immediately went to work to determine the source. Spokesperson Steven Irwin said once the investigation is complete, drilling operations near the epicenter might be modified.

"We will evaluate the geography of the area, and then create a plan, likely with reduced pressure, reduced volume, reduced activity, on those horizontal wells," Irwin says.

A map from FracTracker shows several hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - sites within miles of the epicenter, in the Sycamore Valley area of Monroe County.

“This earthquake is a clear example of the risks involved in fracking,” said Melanie Houston, OEC's director of oil and gas, in the release.

Credit Ohio Environmental Council
The earthquake hit near Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio.

In 2016, around 719 acres of Wayne National Forest were made available for lease by oil and gas drilling companies despite opposition from environmental advocates.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.