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NIU’s online STEM Café explores link between increasing temblors, fracking

DeKALB – We don’t usually think of the central U.S. as earthquake territory. However, at least 26 minor earthquakes have rattled northern Illinois in the past 100 years, and in recent years Oklahoma has experienced more “felt” earthquakes (magnitude 3 or higher) than California.

At the next online Northern Illinois University STEM Café, join NIU geology professors Philip Carpenter and Megan Brown for an earth-shaking discussion of seismic activity in the northern Illinois region and the central U.S. The STEM Café will take place online at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The online event is free and open to the public. Register at

Carpenter, a seismologist and registered professional geologist in Illinois, will discuss the earthquake history of Illinois. He says the audience might be surprised to learn that we have earthquakes in this part of the country, but what is even more surprising is the fact that we know relatively little about the faults that cause these earthquakes.

Brown, a hydrogeologist, will discuss “induced earthquakes” – earthquakes caused by human activities such as mining or injection of fluids into underground formations, which have gained national attention since the oil and gas boom of the late 2000s.

To register, go to Click on the link provided in your confirmation email to enter the meeting by 5:50 p.m. The meeting room opens at 5:30 p.m., and speakers begin promptly at 6 p.m. On a computer, the Chrome browser works best, and you’ll be asked to download the Adobe Connect app. For tablets and mobile phones, go to your app store and download the Adobe Connect mobile app before attending. You’ll be able to listen to the speakers and have a chance to type in your questions. 

NIU STEM Cafés are sponsored by NIU STEAM and are designed to increase public awareness of the critical role that STEM fields play in our everyday lives. For information, contact Judith Dymond at 815-753-4751 or

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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