At least 58 killed in massive earthquake off Mexico coast

9 Sep 2017   Earthquakes, Mexico

Minutes before midnight, warning sirens blared across this earthquake-anxious capital. This, in itself, was not unusual. Temblors are common here, and in recent years Mexico City has held annual disaster drills, revamped building codes and installed sophisticated sensors to be ready for an emergency. Many residents still have clear memories of the calamitous 1985 earthquake that killed at least 5,000 people here and left a quarter-million homeless. But minutes after the sirens began wailing late Thursday, hanging houseplants started swaying and books tumbled from shelves. Plaster cracked. Streetlights shimmied like reeds in the wind. Lights went black. In pajamas and barefoot, with babies swaddled in blankets, residents rushed out of their apartments to wait in the darkened streets. This was no drill. This was an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, the most powerful one in Mexico […]

Seismic events strike shale-rich Oklahoma for second day

7 Aug 2017   Earthquakes

 The U.S Geological Survey recorded a cluster of tremors early Friday in a part of Oklahoma on a watch list for activity related to shale oil and gas operations. Four tremors were reported as of 5:45 a.m. EDT by the USGS, the largest of which was a magnitude-3.3 event about three miles outside the town of Edmond. At least eight quakes were recorded Thursday , with Edmond experiencing a magnitude-4.2 event. One of the U.S. states with a significant amount of shale oil and natural gas, a study from the USGS found the disposal of oil and gas-related wastewater is the “primary reason” for an increase in seismic activity in central states like Oklahoma. That process is different […]

Several earthquakes strike shale-rich Oklahoma

3 Aug 2017   Earthquakes

Eight earthquakes were recorded Thursday in Oklahoma, a state at the heart of the shale oil and natural gas industry, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The largest of the tremors recorded by the USGS was a magnitude-4.2 event shortly before 3 a.m. local time in the town of Edmond, which is designated in a state area of interest. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has ordered oil and gas operators to cut back on disposal well operations and closed some wells in response to increased seismic activity in those areas. There’s been no new well activity in the area in terms of drilling or hydraulic fracturing as of July, state regulators said after a recent outbreak. A statement from regulators, published by local KWTV News 9, said […]

The Latest: Earthquakes rumble in central Oklahoma

15 Jul 2017   Earthquakes

The Latest on a series of earthquakes that struck central Oklahoma on Friday (all times local): 11:05 a.m. The U.S. Geological Survey says several earthquakes have struck north-central Oklahoma, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain says there are no reports of injury or damage as a result of the Friday morning quakes near Stroud, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City. The 4.2 magnitude quake was recorded shortly before 9 a.m. and was followed by quakes of preliminary magnitude 3.8 and 3.7, in addition to smaller quakes of magnitude 2.9 and two of magnitude 2.7. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said its induced seismicity department and the Oklahoma Geological Survey are investigating the quakes. Scientists have linked some oil and gas production in Oklahoma to an uptick in earthquakes, but the frequency of such […]

How Earthquakes Are Rattling a Dutch Province Atop One of the World’s Richest Gas Troves

For decades, the giant Groningen gas field beneath the flat, green farmland in the north of this country counted among the greatest prizes for Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Then the earthquakes started. The exploitation of Groningen—the biggest gas field in Europe—has been causing tremors for over two decades, rattling a bucolic province with no previous history of quakes and exposing two of the world’s biggest energy companies to a criminal probe and rising reconstruction bills.  Amid a public outcry, the Dutch government has imposed increasingly strict limits that have more than halved Groningen’s gas production since 2013. Now, authorities are proposing another 10% cut in hopes of further reducing earthquakes. And a Dutch public prosecutor is preparing to open a criminal investigation into responsibility for the earthquakes.

Earthquake trends in Oklahoma and other states likely related to wastewater injection

23 Jun 2017   Earthquakes

U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Catalog According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the number of earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains has increased dramatically since 2009. More earthquakes in these areas have coincided with the increase in oil and natural gas production from shale formations. Seismic events caused by human activity—also known as induced seismicity—are most often caused by the underground injection of wastewater produced during the oil and natural gas extraction process. Source: U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Catalog Most induced earthquakes are small, measuring in the three- to four- magnitude range on the moment magnitude scale . These earthquakes are large enough to be felt by most people, but they do not often cause damage to structures. In Oklahoma, where production is in areas with high water-to-hydrocarbon ratios (meaning there is more produced wastewater that must be disposed), the number of earthquakes has increased significantly since 2009. […]

Oil-Rich Oklahoma Still at Highest Risk of Man-Made Earthquakes

2 Mar 2017   Earthquakes

The number of tremors afflicting oil-rich Oklahoma has fallen since regulators began cracking down on the injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas wells, but the state still faces the highest risk of induced earthquakes in the nation. New seismicity maps released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey show that a swath of Oklahoma and Southern Kansas are likely to experience high-magnitude earthquakes this year. USGS also identified the Raton Basin, straddling Colorado and New Mexico, as a high-hazard area. Oklahoma in recent years has seen a steep rise in the number of earthquakes clocking in at magnitude of 2.7 or higher. Geologists, including the USGS, attribute that spike to increased wastewater injection deep underground. The state more than doubled its crude output from 2011 through 2015 […]

Federal 2017 quake forecast highlights Oklahoma, California

2 Mar 2017   Earthquakes

Federal scientists forecast that Oklahoma will continue to have the nation’s biggest man-made earthquake problem this year but it probably won’t be as shaky as recent years. In its annual national earthquake outlook , the U.S. Geological Survey reported Wednesday that a large portion of Oklahoma and parts of central California have the highest risk for a damaging quake this year: between 5 and 12 percent. The outlook is published in the journal Seismological Research Letters . Natural elevated quake risks exist through much of California, Seattle and the area where Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois come together, known as New Madrid. Seismologists say Oklahoma’s problem is triggered by underground injections of huge volumes of wastewater from oil and gas drilling. USGS seismic hazard chief Mark Petersen says Oklahoma’s recent regulation wastewater injection is starting to work, so scientists slightly reduced Oklahoma’s […]

Oklahoma town hit by quakes sues 27 energy companies

19 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

Residents of a town hit by Oklahoma’s strongest earthquake have filed a class-action lawsuit against dozens of energy companies, accusing them of triggering destructive temblors by injecting wastewater from oil and natural gas production underground. Pawnee residents filed the suit Thursday in district court against 27 companies, saying they operate wastewater injection wells even though they know the method causes earthquakes. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount for property damage and reduced value, plus emotional distress. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the town of about 2,200 in September and the lawsuit claims 52 more have hit the area since. On Nov. 6, a magnitude 5.0 quake damaged dozens of buildings in nearby Cushing, a town that is home to one of the world’s largest oil hubs. Oklahoma has had thousands of […]

Nearly two dozen tremors recorded in Oklahoma in a week

15 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

Following a cluster of events near Oklahoma shale basins, data from the U.S. Geological Survey show nearly two dozen small tremors in the last week. A magnitude-2.5 event recorded midday Sunday in Medford, near the northern Oklahoma border with Kansas, was one of 22 smaller tremors recorded in the state in the last week. USGS data show the largest event was a magnitude-3.7 quake reported in Medford on Wednesday. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin last week issued a declaration of emergency after a magnitude-5.0 event struck Cushing, the central U.S. storage hub for crude oil. “Two years ago, we established the coordinating council on seismicity,” she said. “Regulators continue to target areas for additional scrutiny that are experiencing increased seismic activity, […]

Why Oklahoma Can’t Turn Off Its Earthquakes

9 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

Even new fracking wastewater regulations can’t prevent the big ones. Damaged buildings from the earthquake in Cushing on Nov. 7. Sunday night’s 5.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Cushing, Okla., is the latest and, in some ways, the most troubling in a series of temblors that has rocked the Sooner State over the past few years. Not only did it strike within a mile of what is arguably one of the country’s most important strategic assets—Cushing is the largest crude oil trading hub in North America, with almost 600 million barrels of stored crude—but its occurrence raises questions over the state’s ability to do anything about the significant rise in seismic activity, which has been linked to oil and gas activity. While regulations limiting the underground disposal of wastewater have succeeded in reducing the overall frequency of earthquakes, they haven’t been able to stop the really big ones from happening. […]

Magnitude 5 Quake Strikes Close to Largest U.S. Oil Storage Hub

8 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

A magnitude 5 earthquake struck Oklahoma on Sunday near the largest U.S. oil storage hub, prompting some pipeline companies to shut down operations at the site as a precaution. The tremor occurred 2 kilometers west of Cushing at a depth of 5 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its website. Magellan Midstream Partners LP, a pipeline operator, is working through a controlled shutdown of its assets in the area, spokesman Bruce Heine said in an e-mailed statement. There was no damage to its assets and it expects to resume operations on Monday, he said. All companies that run intra-state pipelines that fall under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission have shut down operations as a precaution, Matt Skinner, a public information officer for the OCC, said by phone. Magellan typically discontinues operations to check the integrity of assets if an earthquake over a certain strength occurs, Heine […]

Why Oklahoma Can’t Turn Off Its Earthquakes

8 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

Sunday night’s 5.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Cushing, Okla., is the latest and, in some ways, the most troubling in a series of temblors that has rocked the Sooner State over the past few years. Not only did it strike within a mile of what is arguably one of the country’s most important strategic assets—Cushing is the largest crude oil trading hub in North America, with almost 600 million barrels of stored crude—but its occurrence raises questions over the state’s ability to do anything about the significant rise in seismic activity, which has been linked to oil and gas activity. While regulations limiting the underground disposal of wastewater have succeeded in reducing the overall frequency of earthquakes, they haven’t been able to stop the really big ones from happening. […]

Oklahoma Agency Plans to Shut Disposal Wells After Earthquake

8 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator plans to shut some disposal wells and reduce the volume of others as its initial response to Sunday’s earthquake near the oil hub of Cushing. “Other plans are being developed that will encompass larger areas” and more details are coming tomorrow, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said Monday in an e-mailed advisory. The commission said the plan covered 700 square miles. It didn’t say how many wells were affected. When a quake of similar magnitude hit the state in September, the agency ordered 37 wells shut in a 500-square-mile area. The commission in 2015 established a “volume reduction area” covering 11,000 square miles, or about one-sixth of the state. Cushing is the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate crude futures. WTI for December delivery rose 82 cents to settle at $44.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. “It’s definitely a long-term negative development […]

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake Shakes Central Oklahoma.

7 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

A sharp earthquake centered near one of the world’s key oil hubs Sunday night triggered fears that the magnitude 5.0 temblor might have damaged key infrastructure in addition to causing what police described as “quite a bit of damage” in the Oklahoma prairie town of Cushing. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said it and the Oklahoma Geological Survey were investigating after the quake, which struck at 7:44 p.m. and was felt as far away as Iowa, Illinois and Texas. “The OCC’s Pipeline Safety Department has been in contact with pipeline operators in the Cushing oil storage terminal under state jurisdiction and there have been no immediate reports of any problems,” the commission’s spokesman, Matt Skinner, said in a statement. “The assessment of the infrastructure continues.” The oil storage terminal is one of the world’s largest. The Cushing Police Department reported […]

Early Los Angeles-area quakes linked with oil production

2 Nov 2016   Earthquakes

Several damaging Los Angeles-area earthquakes of the 1920s and 1930s, including the deadliest ever in Southern California, may have been induced by oil production during the region’s drilling boom of that era, U.S. government scientists reported on Tuesday. The findings of a possible link between oil extraction and seismic events in the L.A. basin some 80 or 90 years ago do not apply to modern industry practices but suggest the natural rate of quake occurrences in the region may be lower than previously calculated, the scientists said. The study’s authors, Susan Hough and Morgan Page of the U.S. Geological Survey, stressed a distinction between their results and separate research attributing a growing frequency of quakes in Oklahoma and elsewhere to underground wastewater injection associated with fossil fuel production. The new […]

Oklahoma ramps up energy response to earthquakes

14 Sep 2016   Earthquakes

Oklahoma regulators, working in coordination with federal authorities, closed down more wells in the state in response to an early September earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded six seismic events in Oklahoma over the last 24 hours, the largest of which was a magnitude-3.6 tremor in Major County in the west-central part of the state. One of the U.S. states with a significant amount of shale oil and natural gas, a study from the USGS found the disposal of oil and gas-related wastewater is the “primary reason” for an increase in seismic activity in central states like Oklahoma. Seismic events over the last 24 hours follow a magnitude-5.3 earthquake recorded in Oklahoma on Sept. 3. Oklahoma […]

Oklahoma quakes do nothing to alter federal stance on hydraulic fracturing –

8 Sep 2016   Earthquakes

Federal policies and positions on hydraulic fracturing have not changed in response to a weekend earthquake in Oklahoma, a White House spokesman said. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude-3.5 tremor early Wednesday in Oklahoma. That was one of seven in the state in the last 24 hours and follows a magnitude-5.6 earthquake in the state during the weekend.

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Three tremors in 24 hours near Oklahoma shale country

23 Aug 2016   Earthquakes

 Three minor seismic events were recorded near the shale reserve areas in Oklahoma in the past 24 hours, data for the U.S. Geological Survey show. USGS data show the strongest of the three seismic events was a magnitude-2.9 tremor recorded shortly after midnight in southern Kansas, a few miles from the state border with Oklahoma. A magnitude-2.5 event was recorded in Fairview, Okla., early Sunday afternoon. State researchers said wastewater injection, not from hydraulic fracturing operations but producing wells, poses the largest potential risk for seismic events in Oklahoma. A 15,000 square-mile “area of interest” was established to monitor recent seismic events and their association with the state oil and gas sector . State regulators last week ordered the closure of two wells included […]

Oklahoma rocked by a week of seismic events

16 Jul 2016   Earthquakes

Shale-rich Oklahoma experienced more than a dozen seismic events in the five days ending Friday, data from the U.S. Geological Survey show. A magnitude-2.7 tremor was reported shortly after midnight local time Friday near the north-central town of Enid. The largest of the 16 seismic events since Monday was a magnitude-3.6 quake reported Wednesday in north-central Alva. Several towns in and around the region recorded more than one quake in the last week. On Wednesday, after the USGS recorded 9 recent events in the Blanchard area, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Division said it was investigating all of the oil and gas activity in the area. State researchers said wastewater injection, not from hydraulic fracturing operations […]

Link between U.S. oil drilling and rise in earthquakes

15 Jul 2016   Earthquakes

Stopping an earthquake before it starts? It sounds like a feat possible only for a superhero. But in Kansas and Oklahoma state policymakers are showing that insofar as humans are causing earthquakes, they can stop them, too. After restricting oil and natural gas operations in certain hotspots, Oklahoma is feeling an average of about two earthquakes a day, down from about six last summer, and Kansas is feeling about a quarter of the tremors it once did. Using a growing body of research, along with trial and error, scientists and state regulators are gradually getting closer to pinpointing the cause of the startling increase in earthquakes in the Central and Eastern U.S., and preventing them. The general cause, scientists have found, is not drilling, but what happens after, when operators dispose of wastewater that comes up naturally during the oil and gas extraction process. The operators inject the wastewater […]

Number of Oklahoma earthquakes down this year: state geologists

6 Jul 2016   Earthquakes

In recent weeks, the number of earthquakes felt in Oklahoma has decreased compared with this time last year, which might reflect measures state officials took earlier this year to severely limit the volumes of oil and natural gas wastewater injected into deep disposal wells, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey. “The incidence of earthquakes is down, and that’s attributed to decreased injections,” OGS Director Jeremy Boak said in an interview. Year-to-date the state has seen 403 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or above, which puts it on pace to see fewer earthquakes of that magnitude than last year, when Oklahoma saw 907 temblors of 3.0 or higher. However, the current year is still likely to see more quakes than in 2014 when the state saw 569 such earthquakes. “We believe most of the earthquakes that have been happening since 2010-11 have been induced, although there are a few specific examples […]

Oklahoma Quakes Decline Amid Curbs on Energy Industry’s Disposal Wells

1 Jul 2016   Earthquakes

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% in 2016 compared with a year earlier, a decline attributed in part to actions by state regulators to police the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its operations deep underground. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry, earlier this year stepped up efforts to get companies to reduce the amount of wastewater they inject into hundreds of disposal wells, which have been blamed for a surge in earthquake activity in the state over the past decade. More than 2,700 temblors of magnitude 2.5 or higher occurred in Oklahoma last year, up from 3 in 2005, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey. So far this year, Oklahoma has had 1,097 quakes of that magnitude—strong enough to […]

Southern California Time Bomb: The Ground Surrounding The San Andreas Fault Is ‘Rising And Sinking’

25 Jun 2016   Earthquakes

If you reside on the west coast, you are living on borrowed time. As you will see below, stress has been building up along the San Andreas fault for more than a century, and scientists tell us that southern California is way overdue for a major earthquake. When that stress is finally released, the U.S. Geological Survey says that we could be looking at hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. If you follow my work regularly, then you already know that there has been unusual shaking all along the “Ring of Fire” so far in 2016. But thankfully the west coast of the United States has been spared from a major disaster up to this point. Unfortunately, scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before one strikes, and that is why it is so alarming that the ground surrounding the San Andreas fault has […]

Oil-rich Oklahoma hit by 3.7 tremor

21 Jun 2016   Earthquakes

 A magnitude-3.7 earthquake hit central Oklahoma early Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported after several similar small tremors rocked the oil-rich state last week. The USGS recorded the tremor near Fairview, Okla., around 3 a.m. Monday local time. A magnitude-3.2 quake struck near the border of Kansas late Sunday. According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey at the University of Oklahoma, there were more than a dozen tremors recorded in the region since Friday. A March report from the USGS found central U.S. states have experienced a dramatic increase in seismic activity over the past six years. The report said the disposal of oil and […]

In Oklahoma, $50 oil may test new quake regulations

13 Jun 2016   Earthquakes

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, appearing to run out of space to contain a historic supply glut that has hammered prices, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. Oil producers around the country enticed by crude’s jump to $50 a barrel are hoping to get production back on line, but for producers in Oklahoma, new regulatory barriers may keep key parts of the state shut due to worries about earthquakes. Crude’s recent rebound will mark the first test of more stringent regulations recently implemented in Oklahoma – and already, companies are looking for workarounds. Seismic activity has soared in the state in the last five years, linked to disposal of saltwater from fracking activity. Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth and injecting liquid at high pressure in order to extract oil or gas, which has prompted environmental concerns. […]

Four tremors recorded near Oklahoma shale

7 Jun 2016   Earthquakes

Four minor earthquakes were reported in and around the shale reserve basins in Oklahoma in the last 24 hours, the U.S. Geological Survey found. The USGS recorded three minor tremors, including two near the metropolitan area of Oklahoma City, inside state borders and one less than 100 miles across the border in Kansas. The largest of the tremors was the 3.5-magnitude quake recorded about 20 miles east from Oklahoma City, the state’s capital. A March report from the USGS found central U.S. states have experienced a dramatic increase in seismic activity over the past six years. Between 2009 and 2015, there have been an average 318 quakes in the region, against an average of 24 in the 35 years ending in […]

Earthquake insurance latest concern in oil-rich Oklahoma

26 May 2016   Earthquakes

The state government in the shale state of Oklahoma said it was concerned about the lack of competition in the market for earthquake insurance. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak called a hearing after fielding complaints that just four insurance companies claim more than half of the state market for insurance coverage for earthquakes. Two minor tremors in Oklahoma, along with another small seismic event just north of the border in Kansas, were recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey in the past 24 hours. A March report from the USGS found the disposal of oil and gas-related wastewater is the “primary reason” for the increase in seismic activity in the central United States. With tremors becoming more frequent, Doak […]

Oil and Gas Activities Behind Texas Earthquakes Since 1925, Scientists Conclude

25 May 2016   Earthquakes

If you’ve felt an earthquake in Texas at any point over the last four decades, odds are that quake wasn’t naturally occurring, but was caused by oil and gas industry activities, according to a newly published scientific report. Just 13 percent of Texas earthquakes larger than magnitude 3 since 1975 were the result of natural causes alone, according to scientists from the University of Texas who published their peer-reviewed paper in the journal Seismological Research Letters . In recent years, fracking wastewater injection wells have become the primary cause of tremblors in the state, the report adds. And it’s not simply a modern phenomenon, the researchers found. In fact, so-called induced earthquakes, or those caused by human activities, date all the way back to the 1920’s. “The record clearly demonstrates that induced earthquakes have been broadly distributed in several different geographic parts of Texas over the last 90 years,” […]

40 Volcanoes Are Erupting Right Now As The Crust Of The Earth Becomes Increasingly Unstable

25 May 2016   Earthquakes

Have you noticed that our planet has begun to shake, rattle and roll? Over the past few days we have seen major volcanic eruptions in Costa Rica and Indonesia, and according to Volcano Discovery 40 volcanoes around the planet are erupting right now as you read this article. Meanwhile, earthquakes continue to shake the globe with alarming regularity. Just last week, Ecuador was hit by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake and a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in rapid succession. Overall, there have been more than 3,000 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater within the past month globally. So yes, I write constantly about the rapidly accelerating deterioration of our financial system , but the coming “collapse” is not just about money. I am convinced that we are entering a “perfect storm” in which a confluence of factors will absolutely cripple society and bring about changes that most of us would not […]

Fracking: Oklahoma’s New F-Word

Oklahoma Earthquake Damage Fracking in Oklahoma, as well as elsewhere, has been on the decline, thanks to the oil price slump. Quakes, however, are continuing at alarming rates. A CBC report on the situation notes anecdotal evidence that capping wells could possibly reduce seismic activity, but anecdotal evidence is insufficient. There is a growing body of evidence that fracking, as well as traditional oil extraction to a lesser extent, can be directly linked to an increase in seismic activity. The studies that have accumulated this evidence became necessary as some of America’s biggest oil-producing regions started experiencing more than their fair – and historical – share of earthquakes. Oklahoma has been dubbed by media the new earthquake capital of the country. Prior to 2009, the state had fairly negligible seismic activity. Then the shale boom started gathering pace, and today, the state is being shaken by an average of […]

Pennsylvania probes possible link between quakes, fracking

30 Apr 2016   Earthquakes

Pennsylvania environmental regulators want to determine whether a series of minor earthquakes in the state this week were caused by nearby fracking operations by an oil and gas company. Five tiny temblors, all too weak to be felt by humans, took place in a 22-hour span in Lawrence County, about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh and three-quarters of a mile from a natural gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. No damage was reported. Hydraulic fracking, a type of drilling method to extract gas or oil from underground shale, has been tied to earthquakes in neighboring Ohio and other states, but never in Pennsylvania, the nation’s No. 2 natural gas-producing state. The state Department of Environmental Protection is consulting with seismologists and plans to meet with Hilcorp “for them to present geologic data they have collected in the area during and prior to drilling and stimulation,” DEP spokesman […]

More than a dozen tremors hit Oklahoma

19 Apr 2016   Earthquakes

Oklahoma hit by more than a dozen small earthquakes in the last week as the state works to control wastewater disposal tied to the oil and gas industry. Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. OKLAHOMA CITY, April 18 (UPI) — Even with action taken to control human-induced seismic events tied to oil and gas, the USGS reported more than a dozen minor quakes in Oklahoma in a week. The U.S. Geological Survey reported there were 13 quakes in Oklahoma and one just over the northern state border in Kansas since last week. The largest were two magnitude-3.5 quakes recorded Tuesday in the north-central part of the state. Magnitude-3.0 and magnitude-2.5 quakes were recorded by the USGS on Sunday. A March report from the USGS found central U.S. states have experienced a dramatic increase in seismic activity over the past six years. Between 2009 and 2015, there have been […]

Study: Fracking, Not Just Fracking Wastewater Injection, Causing Earthquakes in Western Canada

1 Apr 2016   Earthquakes

A groundbreaking study published today in Seismological Research Letters has demonstrated a link, for the first time, between hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas and earthquakes. Hydraulic Fracturing and Seismicity in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin ” confirms the horizontal drilling technique (which in essence creates an underground mini-earthquake to open up fissures for oil and gas extraction) is responsible for earthquakes, above and beyond what is already canonized in the scientific literature. We already knew that injecting fracking waste into underground wells can cause quakes . But now it’s not just the injections wells , but the fracking procedure itself that can be linked to seismicity. The study focuses on an area in Canada known as the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) , one of Canada’s biggest shale basins and tight oil and gas producing regions. The researchers “compared the relationship of 12,289 fracking wells and 1,236 […]

Oklahoma’s governor defends earthquake response

30 Mar 2016   Earthquakes

Oklahoma’s governor defended the state response to the seismic activity attributed to oil and gas development against a federal report on the hazard. “Oklahoma remains committed to doing whatever is necessary to reduce seismicity in the state,” Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement. Her comments followed the release of the first-ever report from the U.S. Geological Survey on human-induced seismic activity in the country. A map produced by the USGS shows Oklahoma is the state with the highest risk of potential hazard from human-induced seismic activity. Last year, the USGS found evidence to suggest seismic activity in the state may be tied to the disposal of wastewater from the oil and gas […]

USGS Releases First-Ever Maps of Induced, Natural Earthquake Hazards

29 Mar 2016   Earthquakes

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published its first-ever maps showing potential ground-shaking hazards from human-induced and natural earthquakes Monday. Previously, USGS maps only showed natural earthquake hazards. But concerns over potential damage from induced earthquakes prompted USGS to update its 2014 hazards map to show induced and natural earthquake risks in the central and eastern U.S. (CEUS). The new supplement to the 2014 hazard map shows a one-year outlook for nature’s hazards, whereas the 2014 map uses a 50-year timeline. The supplemental maps show that around 7 million people live and work in areas of the CEUS with potential for damaging shaking from induced seismicity. Within a few portions of the CEUS, the chance of damage from all types of earthquakes is similar to that of natural earthquakes in high-hazard areas of California, […]

23 percent increase in earthquakes

22 Mar 2016   Earthquakes

The total number of earthquakes across Oklahoma has increased 23 percent from this time last year, though most of the quakes are very small according to USGS data. Oklahoma started the year slowly for the total number of quakes, though now has seen a large jump in the number of quakes registering 1.9 magnitude or smaller, year-to-date. So far in 2016, the state has seen 142 of the very small quakes. At this time in 2015, the state registered 16. Overall, 2016 has had a total of 825 quakes compared to 2015’s 671. 1.0M2.0M3.0M4.0M5.0M0150300450600 But 2016 has seen more large, damaging types of quakes, including a 5.1 magnitude quake, the state’s third largest on record. In 2016, there have been nine quakes 4.0 or higher, compared to just four in 2015. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has issued a number of directives covering thousands of square miles to oil and […]

Four tremors recorded in Oklahoma since Sunday

15 Mar 2016   Earthquakes

Five seismic events were reported by the U.S. Geological Survey in Oklahoma in the last 24 hours as the state works to stem incidents tied to oil and gas work. Thee minor tremors were reported early Monday morning local time by the USGS, including a magnitude-3.4 quake near Fairview in the northern part of the state. Two others were recorded Sunday. An increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma was linked by the USGS in a 2015 report to the disposal of wastewater from the oil and gas industry. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Geological Survey have called on energy companies to reduce the amount of wastewater disposed in […]

Oklahoma Expands Plan To Curtail Earthquakes In State

8 Mar 2016   Earthquakes

Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator released an expanded plan on Monday that will curtail wastewater injection volumes and well depth to deal with the state’s increasingly frequent earthquakes. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s new plan about doubles the amount of land covered under a previous plan released in February to help deal with the increase of seismic activity in the state that officials say is caused by oil and natural gas disposal wells. Quakes above magnitude 3.0 now strike the state at a rate of two per day or more, compared with two or so per year prior to 2009. The new plan affects more than 5,000 square miles (12,950 sq km) and more than 400 disposal wells, bringing the combined effect of the two plans to more than 10,000 square miles (28,900 sq km) and more than 600 disposal wells. The new plan […]

Three weekend tremors in shale-rich Oklahoma

23 Feb 2016   Earthquakes, USA

 Seismic activity in shale-rich Oklahoma was apparent again, with the U.S. Geological Survey recording three minor events in less than 24 hours as of Monday. Three tremors of magnitude-3 or less were recorded in Oklahoma since Sunday. A magnitude-2.8 tremor was reported Sunday in Kansas about six miles from the northern border of Oklahoma. The state reported one of its largest earthquakes in recorded history with a mid-February magnitude-5.1 earthquake near Fairview, about 100 miles north of Oklahoma City. The USGS reported last year the increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma since 2009 may be in part related to activity associated with oil production. The agency said the disposal by the energy industry of wastewater […]