Quantcast

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

Energy

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: Earthquakes.ok.gov

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.

Read page 1

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: Earthquaketrack.com

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.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Strong Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma, Felt in 7 Other States

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for optimal health.

Read More
Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More
Sponsored
Pexels

By Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD

In recent years, functional foods have gained popularity within health and wellness circles.

Read More
Despite fierce opposition from local homeowners, a section of the SUNOCO Mariner II East Pipeline cuts through a residential neighborhood of Exton, PA. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

To celebrate the 50th birthday of one of America's most important environmental laws, President Trump has decided to make a mockery out of it.

Read More
With well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage. An economist from the University of Michigan Energy Institute says that is likely to change. Maskot / Getty Images

In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.

Read More