Scientists hunt for cause of recent earthquakes in the South

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Scientists are sending additional sensors to south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with aims of solving the mystery of what caused a spate of recent earthquakes.

Five earthquakes have been detected in the region within a three-week span. reports that government researchers are trying to determine whether the quakes are related to oil and gas operations in the area.

Justin Rubinstein, a geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey, says the agency is working with its partners to deploy seismometers that will provide more information if additional quakes occur. The Geological Survey of Alabama and University of Memphis researchers are also involved in the overall effort.

The USGS reported in 2015 that 21 areas have seen an uptick in earthquakes believed to be related to oil and gas extraction operations.

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