According to a recent news story
, there is good evidence that forcing water into deep wells, done (among other reasons) in the process of fracturing rock to get at natural gas, causes earthquakes. The story takes it for granted that this is an argument against fracking, but while that might be true, it is by no means obvious.
The energy for an earthquake has to come from somewhere, and I don't think the amount of energy that goes into pumping water underground can be close to enough. What is presumably happening is that pumping in the water causes the release of energy that is already there. Dissipating that energy might mean lots of small earthquakes instead of a small number of big ones, which would probably be a net benefit.
If so, what has been identified is not a bug but a feature.
Do any of my readers have more information on the subject?