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Scientists Have Proof Some Texas Earthquakes Are Man Made

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WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — For the first time, scientists say they have proof that some Texas earthquakes are man made.

Radar from satellites, gave scientists the information needed to determine the cause of five earthquakes in the state.

The team of scientists tracked the ground’s movements with the radar and determined that injections of wastewater in drilling for gas and oil were the cause of the earthquakes.

According to AP, a study in the journal Science on Thursday confirms that these were not natural.

Stanford University’s William Ellsworth, the co-author of the study, said the radar technique provides a new way to determine what quakes are man-made.

Cornell University seismologist Rowena Lohman, was not part of the study, but said that data of ground changes “provide good ways to complement what’s measured on the ground.”

The team studied two sets of wells, eastern and western. The satellite radar showed that the shallow eastern wells weren’t the problem, the western wells that were high-volume were, Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth said when injection of wastewater dramatically decreased, the shaking stopped . This observation has been similar in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Even though the earthquakes have stopped, Ellsworth said, “the area was shaken pretty thoroughly over a period of about 18 months.”

Now that the cause of the five earthquakes in 2012 and 2013 have been determined, Ellsworth is working toward a solution.

“Part of the solution is how we manage this problem,” Ellsworth said. “If we get the pressure to go down at depth, the earthquakes stop.”

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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