4.7 magnitude earthquake among 7 recorded in Oklahoma

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4.7 magnitude earthquake among 7 recorded in Oklahoma in 1 day; felt as far away as Iowa.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — At least seven earthquakes rattled north-central Oklahoma on Monday, including one felt 300 miles away in Iowa, prompting concern from local residents and policymakers that the state isn’t doing enough to curb the quakes that scientists have linked to oil and gas activity. Oklahoma has become one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world, with the number of quakes magnitude 3.0 skyrocketing from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 720 so far this year.

Four days after a 4.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded southwest of Cherokee, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake was recorded Monday near Hennessey and Tuesday a 3.0 magnitude quake sprang up about 40 miles southeast of Norman, capping off a run of 23 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher in a seven-day period. In response to Thursday’s quake, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission released a plan calling for two disposal wells to stop operations and for many others to cut down in volume. Oklahoma Geological Survey Director Jeremy Boak said it’s a smart move because he said there’s a clear link between disposal wells and seismic activity in Oklahoma and he would like to see a balanced approach that allows scientists and policy makers to gather more information. Robbins said the quakes left a few pictures askew on his wall, and he noticed a door frame in his house is “tighter than it used to be.” And while no major damage or injuries were reported, Robbins said residents are growing increasingly uneasy about the frequency of the quakes. This is simply to see if, and that’s a big if, if it’s related and perhaps there is no more prudent effort that the OCC can institute than what they’ve done, but as of today, to the best of my knowledge and belief, no one knows whether this means anything or not, other than they feel like the commission is doing something.” According to Boak, about 95 percent of the water being injected into disposal wells is formation water — water that was already present in the ground prior to fracking operations. “The water that comes out is ancient seawater,” he said. “It’s been sitting there for millions of years, getting more concentrated all the time to the point where it’s saltier even than Dead Sea water which is already toxic to you by itself, in addition to, of course, the generated petroleum in there … So, it’s not good stuff.

The massive hub in Cushing, where domestic crude oil enters the energy market, is dotted with hundreds of airplane hangar-sized tanks that hold an estimated 54 million barrels of oil. “I have had conversations with Homeland Security. You have to dispose of it.” Boak said for years, the best destination for that waste has been the Arbuckle group sediment, because of its immense depth and distance from groundwater. It’s fracking related, but he said the fracking itself is not the problem. “The most ardent anti-frackers will insist that because the particular play being worked in is a fracking play, that fracking causes those earthquakes,” Boak said. “But there are plays that are water rich that don’t get fracked, or get fracked in much less serious ways and it isn’t the fracking itself that causes the earthquakes.

But officials tell news that “earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the west. To this point, he said it’s hard to tell with clarity what is driving the reduced injection volumes — the economy or the OCC’s efforts. “We’re just beginning to get our hands on how that localization takes place and what it might tell us on how many wells we might have to throttle back on,” he said. As long as they’re responding quickly, I think we’re doing useful things to try and scale it back until we have a better angle on how to completely control it.” Ultimately, Dake said he doesn’t see the need for any more control through regulation.

He said earthquakes are normal and just because there’s an increase doesn’t automatically point to human activity as a cause. “To have periods of quiet and significant periods of activity is normal,” Dake said. ” … The Pacific Rim has been experiencing increasingly significant activities, both earthquakes and volcanoes, for at least the past 10 years.

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