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Dozens of quakes shake county in May

More than two dozen earthquakes have been recorded in Van Buren County this month.

According to the Arkansas Geological Survey, the quakes began May 3. On that day, one of the quakes measured a 1.9 magnitude and the other a 1.6.

Other dates of the quakes and their magnitudes were: May 4, 1.7; May 5, 1.9; May 6, 1.9, 1.9; May 7, 1.7, 2.0, 2.0; May 8, 1.8; May 12, 1.9; May 15, 1.6, 1.9, 2.4; May 18, 1.7; May 19, 2.3, 2.1, 2.1; May 21, 2.1, 1.9; May 22, 1.5, 1.9, 2.1, 2.0.

The quakes have ranged in location from Damascus to Fairfield Bay.

Quakes measuring 3.0 and under are generally not felt, according to the United States Geological Survey. The magnitude is a measurement of the energy released at the source of the earthquake and is determined from measurements on seismographs, the USGS says.

Conway County near Morrilton has also recorded dozens of quakes this month.

AGS geologist Scott Ausbrooks says there are two possibilities for the quakes: One is that the quakes are naturally occurring and the other is that there is a possible connection with nearby injection wells, used in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

The pattern of quakes is similar to what happened in Faulkner County two years ago. The state Oil and Gas Commission shut down four injection wells in that area and the number of earthquakes dropped significantly.

To see more about the earthquakes in Van Buren County visit http://www.geology.ar.gov/geohazards/earthquakes.htm

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