Residents of Blackpool have been joking about Thor causing the tremors felt in the area – so Madame Tussauds Blackpool decided to take him out to the fracking front line to see what all the fuss was about.
Thor’s wax figure from Madame Tussauds Blackpool is pictured on the fracking front line on Preston New Road in Lancashire as it defends itself against rumours it was his mountain levelling hammer Mjolnir that’s been the cause of the 119 tremors in the area surrounding the seaside town over the last 13 days.
Matthew Titherington, general manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool, said: “We’ve had people visiting the attraction joking about whether the recent earthquakes are being caused by Thor and his mighty hammer so we decided to take him out to the fracking front line to see what all the fuss was about.”
Earlier this week, the British Geological Survey revised upwards the intensity of the UK’s most powerful fracking-induced earth tremor from “strong” to “slightly damaging”. The Bank Holiday tremor, almost certainly closed by Cuadrilla’s fracking operation near Blackpool was upgraded today from an intensity level 5 to level 6.
News site DrillOrDrop notes the 2.9ML tremor, centred close to the Preston New Road shale gas site, is the largest induced by hydraulic fracturing in the UK – and has further worried many local residents. It was among 119 tremors caused by fracking at Preston New Road since 15th August 2019.
People reported feeling the tremor, which happened at 8.31am on 26 August 2019, from as far away as Preston and Chorley. There were complaints of houses shaking and cracks to plaster. BGS told DrillOrDrop Intensity 6 earth tremors are not common in the UK and it is unusual for a magnitude 2.9 tremor to have an intensity of this size.
Cuadrilla were granted planning permission in October 2016 to develop Preston New Road as a temporary exploration site with permission to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of natural gas from up to four horizontal wells at the site. Site construction began in early 2017 and drilling began in mid 2017.
In 2018, Cuadrilla completed drilling the UK’s first two horizontal shale gas wells, but had to take to court in the wake of ongoing protest, along with local farmers, resulting in an injunction to protect their work until June 2020. (The High Court Order can be viewed here).
Thor clearly abided by ruling.
After the recent seismic activity, a spokesperson for Cuadrilla confirmed micro-seismic event were detected at the shale exploration site, one with a magnitude 2.9 on the Richter scale.
In a statement, the company said “We appreciate this this has caused concern for local people and by way of reassurance it is worth noting that this event lasted for around a second and the average ground motion recorded was 5mm per second. This is about a third of that permitted for construction projects.
“As previously stated, we were not operational this morning and no hydraulic fracturing has been carried out this weekend.
“We are working with the team of regulators who intensely monitor our activity at Preston New Road to investigate the event and will provide more updates in due course. Hydraulic fracturing operations will remain suspended during this time.
“We have verified that the well integrity is unaffected.”
• For more information or to book tickets to visit Madame Tussauds Blackpool visit:www.madametussauds.com/blackpool
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