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Published: Sunday, 12/25/2011

Youngstown struck by quake near well


YOUNGSTOWN -- A magnitude 2.4 earthquake shook Youngstown early Saturday morning, but this one was a little different.

The earthquake, the ninth this year with an epicenter in Mahoning County, struck at about 1:24 a.m.

The shake, like eight of the nine before it, occurred near a brine-injection well, which is one method of disposal for fracking fluids.

Fracking is a process in which water, chemicals, and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil.

But the depth of Saturday's shake was less than the previous eight. The approximate depth of the latest quake is about 4,000 feet below the bottom of the D&L Energy Inc. brine-injection well.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will mandate D&L to plug the bottom 250 feet of that well to "alleviate any perceived [earthquake] accusations."

D&L will plug it once another well is fully operational.

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