Earthquake caused by salinity facility near Bedrock

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- A magnitude 4.5 earthquake is being called an "induced" earthquake.

This means Monday morning's earthquake was man-made. The salinity control facility near Bedrock is being blamed for the quake. It's caused earthquakes before because of the work they do.

The facility injects salt water runoff, and snow-melt off the La Sals, into a three-mile-deep well. This prevents the salt water from contaminating the Dolores River which feeds into the Colorado River.

"So, what we're doing is intercepting that salt water before it gets into the Dolores River, thereby, reducing salinity loading to the river," said Ed Warner, Area Manager for Bureau of Reclamation.

The process can cause an earthquake when there is a void in the ground.

"This brine goes into these natural cracks. Well, some of these cracks fill up and they may crack a little farther, as you're injecting these under high pressure, or it may just make a new crack that this brine goes into. So when it does that, when you crack some things underground, that's basically causing an earthquake at the surface," said Warner.

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