Drilling related earthquakes in Oklahoma

Hells bells.


Several earthquakes shook Oklahoma on Monday as the state experiences a sharp increase in the frequency of tremors linked to wastewater disposal from gas and oil drilling, including from fracking, state and federal officials said.

Three of Monday??s quakes measured above a magnitude 4.0, with a 4.5 earthquake centered just north of Crescent, roughly 45 miles (72 km) north of Oklahoma City, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Noticeable quakes ?? above magnitude 3.0 ?? now hit the state at a rate of two per day or more, compared with two or so per year prior to 2009. During the past seven days, Oklahoma has experienced about 40 earthquakes, according to the USGS.
Scientists say the seismic activity is triggered by the injection of wastewater from booming oil and gas drilling operations into deep geological formations.

rua69, Jul 30, 7:22 am

OK - I'll play devil's advocate here. Fracking/deep waste injection was going on for long before the onset of the Oklahoma EQ swarm, and while it did ramp up, it doesn't explain fully how and why EQ activity would go from a background of nearly nil to a level more than 100 times higher than previous decades. It's possible something else is going on. In some ways, if it is "something else", then it's worse than if it is fracking induced quakes, as large intra-plate quakes have occurred in the US, and when they do, the strong shaking propagates further (relative to similar magnitude quakes on plate boundaries) and can cause massive damage over large areas. (ie New Madrid quakes of 1811/12).
But IMO it is probably induced seismic activity, and very interesting. Now that the warning has been given, if there is a serious quake in the area causing casualties, the political reaction will be massive.

There's a similar but smaller ongoing swarm in NW Nevada, no fracking in that area, over/ east of the subduction zone, and nobody seems to know what's going on there.

mm12345, Jul 30, 8:58 am

Correlation is not causation.

lugee, Jul 30, 12:18 pm

Well, there's strong evidence that the fluid injection is causing the quakes, the mechanism of how it could cause them has been explained, but there's basically nothing to support the counter claim that the quakes are a natural or normal occurrence due to the geology in the area, as the duration and nature of the swarm is unprecedented.

mm12345, Jul 30, 5:38 pm

Point still stands, until "strong" evidence (if it exists) turns into undeniable evidence.

lugee, Jul 30, 6:09 pm

Uuhh. until what?
There's very strong evidence that the quakes are caused by waste water injection, yet basically no evidence they're being triggered by anything else.
Oil industry funded denialists can't come up with a better idea than "but it must be something else", yet even the Oklahoma Geological Survey (with close ties to the oil industry) has conceded that the quakes are not the result of a natural process.

mm12345, Oct 20, 3:34 am

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