Quantcast

40 Earthquakes Hit Frack-Happy Oklahoma in Last 7 Days

Energy

Yesterday Oklahoma recorded five earthquakes centered near Crescent, Oklahoma, some of which were felt in at least five states—Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas. Three of the quakes measured above 4.0-magnitude and the biggest of these was a 4.5-magnitude earthquake, the strongest earthquake in the region since a magnitude-4.9 near Conway Springs, Kansas, on Nov. 12, 2014. The strongest magnitude earthquake on record occurred on Nov. 5, 2011 and registered as 5.6-magnitude.

There was no reported significant damage from the earthquakes, but the rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased by about 50 percent in the last two years, greatly increasing the chance for a damaging quake, according to the USGS. There have been eight quakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger near Crescent since Saturday and during the past seven days, Oklahoma has experienced about 40 earthquakes.

"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," reports Reuters.  

This spring scientists confirmed that the state's recent uptick in fracking activity has led to a dramatic increase in earthquakes in the state, citing the injection into deep underground wells of fluid byproducts from drilling operations as the culprit. “Oklahoma experienced 585 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2014 compared to 109 events recorded in 2013,” according to the state's website, Earthquakes in Oklahoma.

The number of earthquakes has risen dramatically in recent years along with the rapid increase in fracking infrastructure in the state. Photo credit: Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Last month, two more studies confirmed that the massive increase in seismic activity is linked to the state's fracking boom. And Oklahoma may have surpassed California as the number one state for earthquakes, but it's not alone in its dramatic increases in earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey has identified eight other states that have seen more frequent and higher magnitude quakes, as well, including neighboring New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Arkansas.

In response to the findings, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Oil and Gas Conservation Division issued new directives this month expanding "Areas of Interest," parts of the state that have been worst-hit by the quakes, and adding restrictions for 211 disposal wells. In March, the state required 347 wells to reduce their injection depths to above the Arbuckle formation because "there is broad agreement among seismologists that disposal below the Arbuckle poses a potential risk of causing earthquakes," says the state.

“The Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity continues to evaluate and discuss what next steps should be," said Michael Teague, Oklahoma secretary of energy and environment. "The Coordinating Council discussed the possibility of reducing injection volumes [of fracking fluid] in the near future, as recommended by recent scientific studies, as a potential next step.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Get Ready for Ugly as Markets Begin to Deal With Climate Crisis

Recent Spills Give More Reason to Move Beyond Big Oil

Pope Francis’ Historic Visit to the U.S. Will Be a Climate Game-Changer

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Oil palm plantations in northeastern Borneo, state of Sabah, Malaysia. Recently planted oil palms can be seen in the bright green grassy areas and a tiny bit of natural rainforest still struggles for survival farther away. Vaara / E+ / Getty Images

Palm Oil importers in Europe will not be able to meet their self-imposed goal of only selling palm oil that is certified deforestation-free, according to a new analysis produced by the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition, as Bloomberg reported.

Read More Show Less
Scientists found the most melting near Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island, NWT, Canada. University of Alaska Fairbanks Permafrost Laboratory

The Canadian Arctic is raising alarm bells for climate scientists. The permafrost there is thawing 70 years earlier than expected, a research team discovered, according to Reuters. It is the latest indication that the global climate crisis is ramping up faster than expected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixabay

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Cherries are one of the most beloved fruits, and for good reason.

Read More Show Less
A fuel truck carries fuel into a fracking site past the warning signs Jan. 27, 2016 near Stillwater, Oklahoma. J Pat Carter / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

For more than three decades, the U.S. government has mismanaged toxic oil and gas waste containing carcinogens, heavy metals and radioactive materials, according to a new Earthworks report — and with the country on track to continue drilling and fracking for fossil fuels, the advocacy group warns of growing threats to the planet and public health.

Read More Show Less
European Union blue and gold flags flying at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium. 35007/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Newly adopted guidelines set forth by the European Commission Tuesday aim to tackle climate change by way of the financial sector. The move comes to bolster the success of the Sustainable Action Plan published last year to reorient capital flows toward sustainable investment and manage financial risks from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivering remarks to supporters at a Liberal Climate Action Rally in Toronto, Ontario on March 4. Arindam Shivaani / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that his government would once again approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the amount of oil transported from Alberta's tar sands to the coast of British Columbia (BC).

Read More Show Less
An exhausted polar bear wanders the streets of Norilsk, a Siberian city hundreds of miles from its natural habitat. IRINA YARINSKAYA / AFP / Getty Images

An exhausted, starving polar bear has been spotted wandering around the Siberian city of Norilsk, Reuters reported Tuesday. It is the first time a polar bear has entered the city in more than 40 years.

Read More Show Less
Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

Read More Show Less