Renewable energy may have caused a one of the most powerful earthquakes to strike Pohang, South Korea, Newsweek reported.
The November 2017 earthquake injured 82 people and caused damage to thousands of buildings throughout the city, resulting in millions of dollars in damage. The quake may have been caused by activity related to geothermal energy, researchers say, according to a paper published in Science Magazine.
Newsweek reported the findings under the headline, “Fracking Might Have Led To A 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake That Injured Nearly 100 People: Study,” in what could easily be mistaken to mean the hydraulic fracturing associated with fossil fuel production.
The researchers found possible links between the earthquake and development done in relation to producing geothermal energy through an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS). EGS differs from other methods of harvesting geothermal energy in that it pumps large amounts of water into hot rock formations not already filled with water. As the liquid heats up, it is forced back out through the formation and well-hole under tremendous pressure in the form of liquid and steam used to generate energy.
Other forms of harvesting geothermal energy use the water originally in the formation without any outside source added.
A process to dispose of wastewater from fracking, known as injection, has been tied to earthquakes and tremors in the U.S. Fracking, however, has not been known or linked to cause earthquakes.