Yes. We drill into the earth to mine for gas, oil and minerals and construct massive dams and, as a result, have caused at least 200 quakes of more than 4.5 magnitude in the past 160 years, says Christian Klose, a researcher at Columbia University who studies man-made quakes.
Need some natural gas? To generate more of it—and more income—energy companies are resorting to creative measures, eking out every last bit from the gas wells they drill. But environmentalists and public-health advocates warn that one such process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can also taint nearby water supplies. Advances in horizontal drilling technologies have allowed energy producers to reach gas packed in dense rock formations that happen to coexist with the sources of drinking water for a sizeable segment of the U.S. population.