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In March 2019, an earthquake was detected in central Alberta, approximately 12 kilometres south of Sylvan Lake. There are no known impacts to public safety or the environment.

The event was detected near a hydraulic fracturing operation. While we have not yet determined if the earthquake occurred because of natural causes or was induced by industry operations, as a precaution, we have made a series of recommendations for seismic monitoring and reporting for hydraulic fracturing operators in the area.

Our Recommendations 

Per Bulletin 2019-07, companies in the Red Deer area drilling within the Duvernay Zone should assess the potential for earthquakes caused by, or resulting from, hydraulic fracturing, as well as monitor local seismic activity around their operations.

These recommendations are similar to those set out in Subsurface Order No. 2 , which applies to operations in the Duvernay Zone near Fox Creek.

We also have a number of requirements in place to protect subsurface and wellbore integrity during hydraulic fracturing. Directive 083: Hydraulic Fracturing – Subsurface Integrity addresses the hydraulic fracturing risk to subsurface well integrity.Our operational requirements will be in place as long as we feel they are necessary for the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of energy resources.

Ranking System

Companies operating in Red Deer are encouraged to follow a “traffic light” system to monitor for seismic activity.

Traffic Light System - Red Deer


  • Seismic event of less than 1.0 local magnitude (ML): no action is required by the operator.
  • Seismic event of 1.0 ML or greater: the operator must immediately report the event to the AER and implement their response plan.
  • Seismic event of 3.0 ML or greater: the operator must immediately cease operations and report it to us. They cannot resume operations without our approval.

Follow Our Updates

Albertans should know when we detect earthquakes. When we detect seismic activity in the province, we update our Alberta Interactive Seismic Events Map.