04/17/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 06/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Fracking Earthquakes: Hydraulic Fracturing Causes 'Remarkable' Increase In Quakes, Tremors, Studies Report

VANCOUVER - Two separate studies are providing insights into the earth-shaking consequences of the controversial gas extraction process known as fracking.

Both studies confirm that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can trigger manmade earthquakes when water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep into the ground to fracture rock to obtain oil and natural gas.

Energy companies are increasingly using the technique across Canada, including in B.C. where there is already regular seismic activity and an ever looming threat of various sized tremors.

The U.S. Geological Survey is set to release its findings Wednesday that a "remarkable" increase of quakes in the U.S. midcontinent since 2001 is "almost certainly" the result of oil and gas production.

U.K. experts, meanwhile, point to a study released Monday that found recent earthquakes in northwest England were caused by fluid injection into a nearby fault zone as evidence fracking can be safe when conducted by responsible operators.

Opposition to fracking has ramped up since the release of the 2010 documentary "Gasland," which shows residents of small town Colorado setting alight tap water they charge was soured by nearby oil industry activity.

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