An unusually shallow earthquake triggered by hydraulic fracturing in a Chinese shale gas field could change how experts view the risks of fracking for faults that lie very near the Earth’s surface.
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In the journal Seismological Research Letters, Hongfeng Yang of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues suggest that the magnitude 4.9 earthquake that struck Rongxian County, Sichuan, China on 25 February 2019 took place along a fault about one kilometer (0.6 miles) deep.
The earthquake, along with two foreshocks with magnitudes larger than 4, appear to be related to activity at nearby hydraulic fracturing wells. Although earthquakes induced by human activity such as fracking are typically more shallow than natural earthquakes, it is rare for any earthquake of this size to take place at such a shallow depth.
“Earthquakes with much smaller magnitudes, for example magnitude 2, have been reported at such shallow depths. They are
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- A team of researchers spotted a close pair of trans-Neptunian objects
- The unusually close pair was also occulting a binary star system
- The discovery was made with the help of a citizen science project
With the help of a citizen science research network, a team of researchers has discovered an unusual pair of trans-Neptunian objects (TNO).
Any object in our solar system that has an orbit beyond Neptune is considered a TNO. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), there are about 70,000 known TNOs, including Pluto, each measuring at least 100 kilometers (62.137 miles) across.
In a new study, published in The Planetary Science Journal, a team of researchers discovered a TNO pair orbiting each other. The researchers discovered them using a stellar occultation, which occurs when the light of a star is blocked by an object from reaching the observer, a news release from the