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Seismicity at Preston New Road, October 2018

Since hydraulic fracturing operations started at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, some earthquakes have been detected close to the area of operations. Details of these events can be found here.

BGS has deployed additional surface seismic sensors across the north of England to help provide an independent assessment of both the baseline levels of natural earthquake activity and any induced seismicity. This dense network of sensors allows us to detect smaller earthquakes than we are typically able to do in other parts of the UK. The data from this network is openly available and all the seismic activity that we detect will be published on our web site.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has strict controls in place to ensure that operators manage the risk of induced seismicity. Details of which can be found here. This includes a requirement for operators to undertake detailed geological studies, and submit a Hydraulic Fracture Plan (HFP) setting out how they will control and monitor the fracturing process and assess the risk of induced seismic events.

BGS is not a regulatory body. Our role is to provide impartial data that is available for everyone to view and analyse. Current regulations require operators to stop hydraulic fracturing if an event with a magnitude of 0.5 ML or above occurs during operations. It is the responsibility of the operators themselves, not BGS, to carry out real-time seismic monitoring in order to comply with Traffic Light regulations and any decision to stop will be based on the information provided by operators rather than by BGS.

Our seismic monitoring provides an impartial source of earthquake data and calculated earthquake magnitude and location. A list of events in the last 100 days can be found on our Recent Events page. Data from our stations are viewable on the Real Time Seismograms page of our website. Magnitudes are local magnitude (ML) and are calculated to one decimal place, as is standard practice in earthquake seismology.

Permanent and temporary monitoring stations in the North of England