Oklahoma has been seeing a sharp increase in earthquake activity. In 2014, Oklahoma beat out California, for the most earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater, with 562 quakes compared to 180 in California.
This increase has Oklahoman’s wanting answers on the cause. In September of last year, Gov. Fallin created a seismic activity council to do just that. However, many fear that the council is bias due to the fact that it’s members are largely connected with the oil and gas industry.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been studying this issue and last week said that the “rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.”
Their findings show that the increase is due to a part of the hydraulic fracturing process.
“These modern extraction techniques result in large quantities of wastewater produced along with the oil and gas. The disposal of this wastewater by deep injection occasionally results in earthquakes that are large enough to be felt, and sometimes damaging. Deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes and the corresponding increase in seismic hazard in the central U.S. ” – U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
These findings are consistent with other studies done around the state.
Map Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS