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LA earthquake: City councilmembers want to see if fracking is to blame

Shaking was caught on the ABC7 Quake Cam after a 4.4-magnitude earthquake struck the Los Angeles area Monday, March 17, 2014.

March 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seismologists say they can't pin Monday's 4.4-magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles on any one fault, but rather on the buildup of stress associated with the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. Could "fracking" be blamed for the quake? That's what three Los Angeles City Council members want to find out.

Councilmen Paul Koretz, Mike Bonin and Bernard Parks filed a motion on Tuesday, calling for city staff to investigate whether oil and natural gas drilling methods helped trigger the quake.

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City staff would work with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, the U.S. Geological Survey and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to put together a report to see if there are any links between fracking and the earthquake.

The councilmembers say the quake's origin was located near areas where active oil extraction activities have been reported. Fracking involves injecting wells with a high-pressure solution to free up trapped natural gas and oil deposits.

Monday's temblor struck at 6:25 a.m. two miles south-southeast of Encino. It had a depth of 5.3 miles, and shaking was felt across the Southland. According to the motion, seismologists said the quake was the strongest to "hit directly under the Santa Monica Mountains in the 80 years since seismic record-keeping began in the area."

The councilmen also said in the motion that seismologists have found links between fracking and earthquakes in other states such as Oklahoma and Arkansas.

City News Service contributed to this report.