By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the exception of a couple of earthquakes in the past decade, Maryland is pretty stable. But now, with the possibility of hydraulic fracturing coming to Maryland, Mike Schuh reports, the state wants see what’s really happening underground.

Current low gas prices are partially attributed to what’s happening at thousands of fracking wells.

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Those wells are extracting oil in places across our country where it used to be impossible. So much oil, it’s helping to push prices down.

Hydraulic fracturing breaks up rocks underground to release the oil. There’s a ban in Maryland until 2017.

But unlike previous administrations, Governor Hogan is open to talk about allowing fracking after the current law expires in two years.

That’s important to note, because in some states, it’s thought fracking has caused earthquakes.

Currently, Maryland only has one earthquake detector, and it’s in Reisterstown–nowhere near where fracking would happen.

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“We’re all aware that western Maryland is a spot for potential hydraulic fracturing,” said Richard Ortt, director of the Maryland Geological Survey.

So, the state’s geological survey director is planning to get another seismometer for western Maryland.

“The main goal for us, for Maryland, is to detect if there’s earthquakes and if those earthquakes are being generated by anything man made that’s going on or if they’re just natural earthquakes.”

So, if these rigs do dot our landscape, the state will have a baseline, a look at how stable our state was before they got here.

“What we’d like to do is see what the seismicity of the background area is, so we know what it is, so therefore if anybody comes and says ‘Hey, it’s changed,’ we have something to compare that change to.”

When installed, it would link up to a national network of such instruments.

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If the state finds the money, the $30,000 project will happen by late spring.