Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the world

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Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the world

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:54 pm

Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the world

ENID, Okla. – In recent years, Oklahomans have become accustomed to a bit of rocking and rolling in the form of earthquakes.

Now, Oklahoma appears to be the earthquake capital of the world, according to a spokesman with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

“This is an Oklahoma issue that is an earthquake issue. It is nothing more and it’s nothing less,” said Matt Skinner, Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman. “For us, it’s an oil and gas issue as well, because that’s what we have jurisdiction over that the seismologists say pertains to earthquakes.”

In February, the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that Oklahoma had three times as many earthquakes as California in 2014.

Earlier this year, Gov. Mary Fallin acknowledged there is a direct correlation between increased seismic activity and disposal wells.

Scientists say it’s not hydraulic fracking that’s causing the earthquakes. They say it’s wastewater disposal.

With the jump in the number of earthquakes, the corporation has ordered several wells to reduce the amount they inject.

“Based on the data, it would appear that even if you do the right thing. It’s going to take a long time. There’s no quick off switch,” Skinner told the Enid News & Eagle.

so Democratic Underground ...yes man can make eathquakes ....and it seems they are pretty good at it
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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby NeonLX » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:13 pm

Not enuff funnymentalist Xtians living there, apparently.
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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby 82_28 » Thu Nov 12, 2015 6:25 pm

And Seattle's stolen Super Sonics. Good riddance.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby norton ash » Thu Nov 12, 2015 6:28 pm

I would think we'd want to keep the dog off the bed where the New Madrid fault lies sleeping.
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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:49 pm

Another Earthquake Hits Oklahoma: Officials Worry Stronger Quake Could Threaten National Security

Lorraine Chow | November 30, 2015 11:03 am | Comments

Officials in frack-happy Oklahoma are continuing to express concern over the state’s alarming earthquake boom. If a strong one strikes the northwestern city of Cushing—one of the largest crude oil storage facilities in North America, if not the world—it could disrupt the U.S. energy market and become a national security threat, NPR reports.
Map of Oklahoma. The orange dots represent the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 and higher from Jan. 2015 to date. The blue dots represent the state’s wastewater disposal wells. Photo credit:
Mike Moeller, senior director of mid-continent assets for Unbridle Energy, explained to NPR that, so far, the state’s uptick in tremors have not affected company operations.

However, Moeller noted that the company’s 18 tanks, which hold between 350,000 to 575,000 of oil, are not built to withstand serious earthquakes, especially since earthquakes used to be so rare in Oklahoma.

As EcoWatch reported in September, before 2009 Oklahoma had two earthquakes a year, but now there are two per day. Oklahoma has more earthquakes than anywhere else in the world, a spokesperson from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said earlier this month.

The possibility of a Big One striking Cushing, which holds an estimated 54 million barrels of oil, could be a national security issue.

“I have had conversations with Homeland Security. They’re concerned about the tanks mostly,” Daniel McNamara, a U.S. Geological Survey Research geophysicist, told NPR. He added that the faults underneath Cushing could be prime for more shaking.

Scientists have linked the Sooner State’s spike in seismic activity to the country’s oil and gas boom. It’s believed that the injection of wastewater byproducts into deep underground disposal wells from fracking operations are putting pressure on faults and triggering the earthquakes.

In response, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry) has been prompted to make changes to hundreds of disposal wells around the state, including the shutdown of several wells near Cushing.

However, NPR noted that the seismic activity near the oil hub resumed when the wells came back online. Oklahoma has about 4,500 disposal wells with about 3,500 still in operation, suggesting that the near-daily earthquakes are far from over unless some major changes are made.

Incidentally, a 4.7 magnitude earthquake was felt in the city of Medford this morning at 3:49 a.m.

The 4.5 magnitude quake felt in Medford was the largest felt in Oklahoma this week. Photo credit:
According to Tusla World, Monday’s temblor was the state’s strongest since a 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck northern Oklahoma just two weeks ago. That quake was the strongest earthquake since 2011 and was felt in seven other states.

Oklahoma residents and even residents from neighboring states took to Twitter to share how this morning’s Medford earthquake has rattled both their homes and their nerves.

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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby elfismiles » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:09 pm

Fracking Disaster: Kansas Went From 1 Earthquake Per Year To 42 A Week
by James DeVinnie • October 16, 2015

The revolutionary method of natural-gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – has left in its wake a trail of contaminated water supplies, polluted air, health problems, and environmental degradation. But what is potentially the most damaging aspect of the process is just coming to light in the form of a tremendous spate of earthquakes in the heart of the United States. In the past week, northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas have suffered forty two earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 on the Richter scale – 17% of all earthquakes in the world. This brings the year-to-date count up to 680 such tremors – and this in area that until recently was almost completely seismically dormant. Up until 2009, the area experienced an average of 1.5 of these quakes each year. What has changed since then is the massive influx of fracking operations seeking to take advantage of the Woodford Shale that straddles the two states’ border.

What makes fracking so revolutionary is that it allows oil companies to access natural gas deposits that, due to their position embedded in bedrock as much as a mile below the surface, were previously inaccessible. In a hydraulic fracturing well, a noxious combination of water, sand, and toxic chemicals is shot down into the bedrock at extremely high pressures and then explodes horizontally into tiny fissures in the rock. This frees up the embedded natural gas to flow back to the surface with the water and sand that is pumped back out. What it also does, however, is seriously destabilize the bedrock and reactivate long-dormant fault lines. In Oklahoma and Kansas, the area that contains the Woodford Shale also happens to sit above the mid-continent rift, a billion-year old fault line buried more than a mile below the surface. The enormous amount of highly pressurized fluid that has been shot into the Earth has now sufficiently destabilized the bedrock to reactivate the fault to an incredible degree.

Moreover, there are increasing indications that the earthquakes are getting worse in almost every way. The number of quakes continues to rise every year, and the area over which they occur is growing gradually largely; recently, scientists have noticed a significant uptick in such quakes as far away as Oklahoma City, which is nowhere near the main fracking wells. Moreover, the earthquakes appear to be getting more powerful. While the state’s most powerful quake on record was recorded in 2011 at M5.6 – about the same as the Virginia earthquake that shook the East Coast the same year – the USGS has warned of an increasing risk of M5.0 or greater earthquakes, which are large enough to cause significant local damage. Every year, a higher percentage of Oklahoma’s frack-quakes are M4.0 or greater.

What is perhaps most frightening about the frack-quake epidemic is that we don’t really know what’s going to happen next. There is little indication how big the quakes could get given how little is known about such deep-level faults and there is even less that we can do about it. Because of how long it takes for the pressurized fluid to build up at sufficient levels, even a total end to fracking in the area right now – which Republicans will ensure won’t happen anyway – wouldn’t end the escalating crisis for years – if it even can be ended. All we can do is sit back and watch the continued environmental destruction brought on by a senseless rush into a dangerous technology.

Oklahoma’s Republican lawmakers – who are of course in the pocket of the oil industry – are doing everything they can to prevent reasonable heads from addressing the crisis. Although universally acknowledged as the result of fracking, some Republicans have continued to question the source of the quakes happening daily under their feet. Moreover, the state has enacted legislation preventing localities from banning fracking and has even put penalties in place on the use of solar energy. All of this despite the fact that even many drillers are realizing that the earthquake epidemic could be “a game changer” for an industry whose full terrible costs are still being exposed. ... 42-a-week/

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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:48 pm

US | Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:52pm EST Related: U.S., ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL DISASTERS
Oklahoma earthquakes raise calls for restrictions on energy firms
Earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past week, including one of the strongest ever recorded in the state, have led to calls for the governor to make changes to oil and gas drilling regulations and reduce seismic activity scientists link to the energy industry.

Two large earthquakes were recorded in northwest Oklahoma on Wednesday, including a magnitude 4.8 quake. The quakes were part of a surge in seismic activity over the past several years.

Scientists have tied a sharp increase in the intensity and frequency of quakes in Oklahoma to the disposal of saltwater, a byproduct of oil and gas extraction, into deep wells. Oil fields have boomed in Oklahoma over the past decade thanks to advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

State Representative Richard Morrissette, a Democrat who has said the state's Republican leaders are not doing enough to address the problem, will host a public forum at the Capitol on Friday to discuss the rash of earthquakes.

He wants the state to halt operation of injection wells at quake sites and do more to prevent them from causing quakes.

"No one in a position of authority is taking this seriously," said Morrissette, who accused the state's leadership of bowing to pressure from the energy industry.

Morrissette is hoping to build grassroots support to take on the oil and gas drilling industry, a powerful player for decades in the state and a major source of employment.

The industry is Oklahoma's largest source of private capital spending and tax revenue and accounts for about 10 percent of the state's annual economy, according to the Oklahoma State Chamber, which represents more than 1,000 Oklahoma businesses.

Although the quakes last week caused no major reported damage or injuries, they left many Oklahomans shaken. Firms providing quake insurance saw a surge in calls inquiring about coverage.

"We don't have overall data on how much injection is going on in this area, but we attribute most of the earthquakes these days to deep injection of produced oil wastewater," said Jerry Doak, director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

State leaders have been instituting changes, but critics said they have not gone far enough.

In response to the quakes, Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, said last week that the state has been regulating disposal wells, taking some steps to limit their injection rate and depth of their injections.

"Science is ever-evolving as to what actually causes earthquakes. We know that disposal wells can cause earthquakes, but not all earthquakes. There are fault lines that are just natural in Oklahoma," she told The Oklahoman newspaper.

Energy companies have also been responding.

Phillips 66 has overhauled how it plans for earthquakes, a sign U.S. energy companies are starting to react to rising seismicity around the world's largest crude storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, site of many disposal wells.

The changes include new protocols for inspecting the health of crude tanks, potentially halting operations after temblors, and monitoring quake alerts.

The strongest quake recorded in Oklahoma was a magnitude 5.5 that struck in April 1952, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:47 pm

7 million Americans at risk of man-made earthquakes, USGS says

By Joel Achenbach March 28 at 12:59 PM

U.S. Geological Survey map shows the potential for Americans to experience damage from natural or human-induced earthquakes in 2016. Changes range from less than 1 percent to 12 percent. (Courtesy of USGS)
Earthquakes are a natural hazard -- except when they're man-made. The oil and gas industry has aggressively adopted the technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to shatter subsurface shale rock and liberate the oil and gas lurking there. But the process results in tremendous amounts of chemical-laden wastewater. Horizontal drilling for oil can also produce massive amount of natural, unwanted salt water that cannot be efficiently recycled. The industry disposes of all this wastewater by pumping it into deep wells.

And the Earth moves.

[Fracking is not the cause of quakes. The real problem is fracking wastewater.]

On Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey published for the first time an earthquake hazard map covering both natural and "induced" quakes. The map and an accompanying report indicate that parts of the central United States now face a ground-shaking hazard equal to the famously unstable terrain of California.

Some 7 million people live in places vulnerable to these induced tremors, the USGS concluded. The list of places at highest risk of man-made earthquakes includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio and Alabama. Most of these earthquakes are relatively small, in the range of magnitude 3, but some have been more powerful, including a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011 in Oklahoma that was linked to wastewater injection. Scientists said Monday they do not know if there is an upper limit on the magnitude of induced earthquakes and that this is an area of active research.

USGS map displaying 21 areas impacted by induced earthquakes as well as the location of the fluid injection wells that have and have not been associated with earthquakes. (Courtesy of USGS)
It's not immediately clear whether this new research will change industry practices, or even whether it will surprise anyone in the areas of newly estimated risk. In Oklahoma, for example, the natural rate of earthquakes is only one or two a year, but there have been hundreds since fracking and horizontal drilling, with the associated wastewater injection, became commonplace in the last decade.

[California has increasingly powerful earthquakes to look forward to]

"By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” Mark Peterson, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said in a release.

The report, based on recent seismic activity, is just a one-year hazard assessment. In effect, the scientists have said that what has happened in the recent past with induced earthquakes will likely happen in the near future. Past USGS hazard maps didn't include man-made events.

“Having it quantified authoritatively will be helpful in establishing just how much danger there is," Michael Blanpied, associate coordinator of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, told The Post.

USGS map displaying 21 areas where scientists have observed rapid changes in seismicity that have been associated with wastewater injection. The map also shows earthquakes - both natural and induced - recorded from 1980 to 2015 in the central and eastern U.S. with a magnitude greater than or equal to 2.5. (Courtesy of USGS)
The earthquake hazard is hard to estimate in any given moment and in any given place, in part because natural earthquakes are inherently unpredictable. The oil and gas industry is unpredictable, too. With oil prices low, companies have cut back on drilling recently.

['Measured 7.9 on the Richter scale': What do those earthquake numbers mean anyway?]

The cut-back in production may explain why, in recent months, there have been fewer earthquakes in southern Kansas, said Rex Buchanan, director of the Kansas Geological Survey.

With a few exceptions, locations in the nation's central and eastern regions are not generally thought of as seismically unstable. But, Blanpied said, “Pretty much everywhere has faults. The nation was built over a billion years, and lots and lots of faults are left over from the construction process.”

The fluids injected into the deep wells don't lubricate the faults so much as put additional pressure on them, driving their walls apart, he noted.

[The big bust in the oil fields]

A fault running between Dallas and the adjacent city of Irving caused a magnitude 3.6 earthquake in January 2015. That was attributed to natural causes, though an injection well was only about six miles away, said Heather R. DeShon, a seismologist at Southern Methodist University. But the USGS identifies the huge Dallas metropolitan area as one of the main places vulnerable to a significant earthquake because of human factors.

“The new map serves as a reminder to the local populations living with the recent earthquakes that it is best to be prepared to feel ground shaking," said DeShon, who was not involved in the new study.

The Dallas Morning News reported that an unreleased study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated that a worst-case, 5.6 magnitude earthquake hitting Dallas could damage 80,000 buildings, cause levees to collapse and lead to $9.5 billion in economic losses.
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Re: Official: Oklahoma is now No. 1 earthquake area in the w

Postby elfismiles » Tue May 31, 2016 3:49 pm

May 31, 8:38 AM EDT
3.1 magnitude earthquake rattles parts of central Oklahoma

LUTHER, Okla. (AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake has rattled central Oklahoma.

The USGS says the 3.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded shortly before 6 a.m. less than 2 miles east-northeast of Luther in Oklahoma County, about 28 miles east of Oklahoma City. Geologists say the temblor was recorded at a depth of three miles.

No damage or injuries were reported. Geologists say earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 are the smallest felt by humans and damage is not likely from quakes below magnitude 4.0.

The number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes has skyrocketed in Oklahoma, from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year.

Scientists have linked the increase to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil-and-gas production and state regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes. ... 1-08-38-04
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