Case Study

Case Study
Joanna’s dream growing up was to be an news broadcaster on her local station. Her mother often teased her about how she would practice giving the

news reports to her hamsters and cats and disgruntled brothers. Later she ran her high school newspaper and her friends always remarked at how

focused she was on getting to the truth. After much hard work, Joanna graduated top of her class from Oklahoma State University with a degree in

journalism. She then landed an internship at News 9 and was determined to do so well that they offered her a full time job. One of the first

assignments she was given was to look into the earthquakes that had been hitting Oklahoma hard since 2009.
She knew that her state was experiencing a sharp rise in earthquakes but also knew that earthquakes are a fact of life in her state, with the first

recorded one hitting her area in the late 1800s. She remembered her mother having to sweep up dishes that were knocked from the shelves during

earthquakes when she was a child. However, the number and intensity of the quakes was recently rising. In 2013, Oklahoma experienced more than 100

quakes in less than three months. This is a huge number for a state more known for experiencing tornadoes than earthquakes.
After doing a basic search on the internet, she found that many people argued that hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the cause of the

earthquakes, as the start of large fracking operations coincided with the sharp rise in the number of earthquakes. In one instance, 50 earthquakes

were experienced 24 hours after hydraulic fracturing operations ended.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” is a mining technique where a liquid, such as water, is mixed with chemicals and sand and then

injected into a wellbore. This causes small fractures to form in deep rock formations, which aids in the collection gas, petroleum, and other

substances, that are then extracted from the well.
However, work is still being done to determine if fracking is, in fact, the cause. Joanna’s boss is worried that wrongly placing the blame on the

petroleum industry will harm Oklahoma, as petroleum extraction is a major industry in the area that employs a sizable percentage of the population.

While this is the case, Joanna feels that it’s her duty to get to the bottom of this issue, as the earthquakes harm local property and could cause

Read and watch the following videos and articles and discuss in the forum.

Fracking Fingered: 100 Earthquakes In Oklahoma

Initial post write 1 page
For your initial post to this forum, you will be able to see your other group members’ posts before you post. You are to
1) find a piece of evidence in the materials that we gave you (or find a piece external to our resources, but provide a link) that either SUPPORTS

the idea that fracking causes earthquakes or REFUTES the idea that fracking causes earthquakes. Do not repeat a piece of evidence that another

student in your group has posted (first come, first dibs).
2) Include “SUPPORTS” or “REFUTES” in your title
3) Explain why you think that evidence is convincing.
For this case study you will have two rounds of responses. For the first round of response you need to
1) respond to another student’s post and discuss the role that bias could play in that piece of evidence (e.g. bias in how it was collected, how it

was described, how it was communicated, OR how others received the message…feel free to review the types of bias before answering).
2) Include the word “BIAS” in the title of your first response post

1st round, This is one my groupmate post: write half page
This websites provides a small paragraph on a government site that states “The injection of wastewater and salt water into the subsurface can cause

earthquakes that are large enough to be felt and may cause damage.” This information is convincing because it builds on the previous videos and

article we read stating that the cause of earthquakes is not from fracking itself, but from the injection of wastewater.
This is an actual article describing the process of how the injection of wastewater while fracking causes earthquakes. This article is specific to

Texas, but explains the same process presented for Oklahoma, where wastewater being injected into the subsurface causes the earthquakes, and the

earthquakes occur near the wastewater disposal wells. This information is convincing because it describes the same process as the other material,

which all happens to focus on wastewater.

2nd round For the second round of response, you will need to (write half page)
1) Respond to your initial post (the one you provided evidence) and discuss your thought process when you are faced with a complex topic. Are you

someone who believes that something is either correct/incorrect, believe in shades of gray where everything has equal value and just depends on your

point of view, or do you believe that everything is gray, but there is always a more correct answer among the grayness?
2) Do you believe fracking is causing earthquakes in Oklahoma? How do you deal with the fact that both sides of the argument have science in their

reasoning as well as claims of bias?