Fracking Increases Oklahoma Earthquakes from Two a Year to Two a Day
Earthquakes continue to rattle the frack-happy state of Oklahoma. The Sooner State has jumped from two earthquakes a year to roughly two a day, with scientists once again pinning the recent uptick on fracking.
Oklahoma Sees 2800% Increase in Earthquakes over 5 Years, Likely Due to Fracking http://t.co/RVK8ujqitp http://t.co/P81G6yZNsF— Wes Annac (@Wes Annac)1442839586.0
Scientists have identified that the injection of wastewater byproducts into deep underground disposal wells from fracking operations are very likely triggering the major increase of seismic activity in the central U.S. state.
Oklahoma, which is not near any major fault lines, has felt 585 earthquakes that were a 3.0-magnitude or greater in 2014—three times the 180 quakes felt by California last year, the AFP reported. Last month alone, Oklahoma experienced more than 600 quakes that could shake homes and cars, with the town of Crescent hit hardest with a 4.5 whammy, the AFP said.
"It's completely unprecedented," George Choy, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), told AFP about the spate of recent tremors.
"What's at risk is that when you put water into the ground, it's never going to come back out. You're putting it in places it has never been before," Choy told AFP.
Oklahoma has about 4,500 disposal wells. Last week, the state's public utilities commission shut two wells and slowed the disposal volume of three more, a local news station reported, after a series of earthquakes, including a 4.1, hit the city of Cushing, which holds one of the largest crude oil storage facilities in the world.
Photo credit: NewsOK
The energy industry is, in a word, everything for Oklahoma. The state is one of the top natural gas-producing states in the nation. One-quarter of all jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to the energy industry.
The scientific evidence, however, continues to mount against the oil and gas sector. Oklahoma has seen a 50 percent increase of quakes the last two years, according to the USGS.
"We are the only state where once this problem came up, we just kept going [with fracking]," Johnson Bridgwater, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club, told the AFP. "We want public safety to come first, rather than treating this state as a giant lab."
Even pro-business state Gov. Mary Fallin changed her tune about the link between fracking and earthquakes for the first time at the state Capitol last month.
"I think we all know now that there is a direct correlation between the increase of earthquakes that we've seen in Oklahoma [and] disposal wells," Fallin said.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Rising temperatures in the air and the water surrounding Greenland are melting its massive ice sheet at a faster rate than anytime in the last 12 millennia, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
- Greenland and Antarctica Already Melting at 'Worst-Case-Scenario ... ›
- Warmer Current Is Carving Away Greenland Ice Sheet From Below ... ›
- Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Melting at Rate That Surpasses Scientists ... ›
- Greenland's Ice Sheet Has Reached 'Point of No Return' - EcoWatch ›
- Record Shrinking of Greenland's Ice Sheet Raises Sea Levels ... ›
- Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Creates Huge Waterfalls, Increasing ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world, as The Guardian reported. That puts the number of species at risk near 140,000.
- Climate Crisis Could Cause a Third of Plant and Animal Species to ... ›
- World Leaders Urged to 'Act Now' to Save Biodiversity - EcoWatch ›
- Bumblebees Face Extinction From the Climate Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Plant Extinction Is Happening 500x Faster Than Before the Industrial ... ›
As human activity transforms the atmosphere, flowers are changing their colors.
- The Best Plants to Attract Pollinators, by Region - EcoWatch ›
- Corals Turn Bright Neon in Last-Ditch Effort to Survive - EcoWatch ›
- Hummingbirds Live in a More Colorful World, Study Confirms ... ›
By Sharon Zhang
Back in March, when the pandemic had just planted its roots in the U.S., President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something devastating: The agency was to indefinitely and cruelly suspend environmental rule enforcement. The EPA complied, and for just under half a year, it provided over 3,000 waivers that granted facilities clemency from state-level environmental rule compliance.
A rare celestial event was caught on camera last week when a meteoroid "bounced" off Earth's atmosphere and veered back into space.
- Asteroid Could Strike Earth Before Election Day But Won't Cause ... ›
- Water May Have Originated on Earth, Study Finds - EcoWatch ›