Environment
9:13 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Quakes Put Ohio Seismologist in Spotlight

Recent northeast Ohio earthquakes linked to drilling wastewater have put Ohio's state seismologist in the spotlight.

Michael Hansen is a part-time state employee whose Ohio Seismic Network has an annual budget of $20,000. It's his job to monitor 26 quake detectors.

A 4.0 magnitude quake in the Youngstown area New Year's Eve was the 11th in the region during 2011. Columbia University researcher John Armbruster said that a northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused the series of minor quakes. The well has been shut down by its owner.

Meanwhile, an anti-drilling group says Ohio needs more than a part-time seismologist with a limited budget. But Hansen and Armbruster tell The Columbus Dispatch that neighboring states have more meager resources.