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BLM Salt Wells May Have Caused Quake

BLM Salt Wells May Have Caused Quake

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) -- A federal facility that pumps salty water 14 thousand feet into the Earth's crust may be associated with a magnitude three-point-nine earthquake that struck the Utah-Colorado border November sixth.

Salt from the Dolores River is removed by a U-S Bureau of Reclamation facility. The brine is then pumped at 230 gallons per minute into deep wells in Utah's Paradox Valley Area.

Andy Nichols -- manager of the B-L-M facility -- says the earthquake probably was associated with the injection process.

Scientists say the process lubricates faults and fracturing rock and while the process decreases the salt content in the Colorado River downstream, it has been known to cause thousands of earthquakes in the area since 1991.

Many of those quakes aren't felt, but the November sixth quake was felt in Grand Junction 60 miles away.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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