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Oklahoma Earthquake Rate Breaking Records, and Fracking Could Be to Blame

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, energy, forests, FRACKING, globalwarming, healthconditions, nature, oceans, politics, pollution, protection, research, science, Sustainabililty, water )

- 1594 days ago -
USGS: Increased seismic activity not due to typical, random fluctuations, but to oil, gas injection wells.


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Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 8:43 am
Map Image: USGS (United States Geological Survey)

Fracking-related injection wells are likely behind the "remarkable" increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have said.

The USGS and the Oklahoma Geological Survey on Friday issued a joint statement warning that the surging seismicity up roughly 50 percent since October 2013 means that central Oklahoma is at a significantly increased risk of a 5.5 or greater quake.

Since just the start of this year, 145 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have struck the state, breaking the record 109 set last year.

Those numbers are a far cry from the two 3.0 magnitude or larger earthquakes per year that occurred between 1978 and 2008.

The USGS stated that the changes "do not seem to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates."

Rather, the USGS analysis points to wastewater injection wells from the oil and gas industry as a likely culprit. Fracking operations use these Class 2 wells to inject the mystery mix of waste fluids into the earth. A 2010 EPA analysis showed that Oklahoma had over 10,000 such wells.

A recent study by the USGS also points to wastewater injection as the likely cause of the November 2011 5.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Prague, Oklahoma, and proceeded to cause a series of "thousands of aftershocks."

The USGS has previously remarked on the surge in earthquakes nationwide, with over 100 per year on average from 2010 - 2013, in contrast to the average rate of 20 earthquakes per year from 1970-2000, noting that some of the areas of increased seismicity coincide with injection wells.

The USGS states: "As the use of injection for disposal of wastewater increases, the importance of knowing the associated risks also grows. To meet these challenges, the USGS hopes to increase research efforts to understand the causes and effects of injection-induced earthquakes."

By: Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams |

Brad H (21)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 9:44 am

. (0)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 3:17 pm
Tell me something I didn't already suspect.

christine jordan (0)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 3:45 pm
yea that figures

Vallee R (280)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 5:13 pm
Heard this on the net - thanks

Sheila D (194)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 5:41 pm
Doubt this will stop the push to frack everywhere in sight...

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 6:16 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. Another article I read today said at least one of these earthquakes was felt as far away as Milwaukee. The facts are there; the science is in. So, why is there still no nationwide moratorium on fracking I wonder.....

Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 6:46 pm

In my own neighborhood, we have felt earthquakes, in north Texas - unheard of, but there ya go. These quakes all developed soon after the fracking began. We can feel some of the quakes, and almost everyone has some damage to their foundations. That is still anecdotal and not scientific findings. How are going to prove a direct connection to fracking and earth quakes when no one, not even the USGS has or will use the money for solid research.

Science is proving the hypothesis, and that is going to take some intensive research and that in turn takes finance.

Robert B (60)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 6:49 am
Unfortunately, Big Money will win out and the fracking will continue. Robber Barons don't care, as long as their mansions aren't destroyed by fracking.

pam w (139)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 9:49 am
Interesting....but....but....but....OIL COMPANIES SWEAR FRACKING IS SAFE..... There can't POSSIBLY be a connection! Right?

Kit B (276)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 2:19 pm

Right Pam, it's all a misunderstanding.

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