High Plains Public Radio

earthquakes

fivethirtyeight

In early 1952 an Oklahoma City petroleum geologist named William Atkinson raised eyebrows by purchasing earthquake insurance for his home.

His odd decision looked like a bit of psychic brilliance a month later. In April of that year Oklahoma City experienced a powerful earthquake—the most powerful in the state’s history until last week.

Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma has now been upgraded to a 5.8, making it the highest magnitude earthquake in the state’s history.

In the wake of this massive quake, CNN Money has published an overview of what we know about these quakes.

USGS

Oklahoma fracking operations are facing a potential backlash in the wake of last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake, Bloomberg reports.

Last year, Oklahoma had almost 900 earthquakes of magnitude three or higher. Earlier this year Oklahoma regulators limited the disposal of oilfield wastewater in the state, hoping to prevent seismic activity. But this latest quake may trigger calls for more limits on wastewater wells in the state.

Rural Blog

It’s no secret wastewater injection wells linked to fracking have led to a staggering rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas. But now, notes The Rural Blog, oil and gas companies appear to have discovered a method to reduce man-made seismic activity.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The decline comes after the state’s efforts to curb the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its underground operations.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week Reuters found that Oklahoma state officials tried to protect oil companies from blame after earthquakes shook the state. Now StateImpact Oklahoma reveals via Reuters that the state’s fracking boom created new oil millionaires.

Nick Oxford / Reuters

As Oklahoma’s earthquake frequency exploded, so did the rates of insurance companies covering the damages. Reuters reporter Luc Cohen recently examined thousands of pages of documents from the Oklahoma Insurance Commission.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As fracking activity in Oklahoma proliferated, the frequency of earthquakes in the state began to skyrocket. And as the quakes increased, so did the tension between federal and state researchers about the causes of the rumbling. So StateImpact Oklahoma decided to take a closer look at that feud. What they found was unsettling, though perhaps unsurprising to many. As earthquake activity spiked, federal scientists with the U.S.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The staggering frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma has caused many problems, not all of them having to do with geology. The state has now come up with a way to settle disputes that arise because of regulatory actions issued to reduce quakes, reports StateImpact.

KFOR.com

Officials in Oklahoma are now using advanced technology in an attempt to get ahead of the spate of earthquakes caused by fracking and wastewater disposal by oil and gas companies. The technology is much needed, as the third largest earthquake in state history was recorded last month.

New seismic sensors have now been put in place to locate and determine the size of the nearest fault line to the big quake’s location in Fairview, reports KFOR. The Oklahoma Geological Survey has also installed a broadband seismometer, an instrument that locates earthquake sources.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has approved the transfer of well over a million dollars from the state emergency fund to strengthen Oklahoma’s earthquake response. The money will go toward researching the state’s recent earthquake surge, and toward regulating the oil and gas activity that’s likely causing it.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Oklahoma state officials set out a couple of years ago to find which buildings in the state were most vulnerable to earthquakes. Today, lawmakers are no closer to knowing which structures would be most likely to collapse, reports NewsOK. That’s because the team of experts the state hired never performed the work requested of them. The team balked out of fears they might be held liable should their predictions prove wrong.

StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week more than 300 angry residents packed an Edmond, Oklahoma, ballroom to voice concerns over a dramatic rise in earthquakes. Now 14 Edmond residents have filed a lawsuit against a dozen oil and gas companies, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The lawsuit claims the companies acted negligently. It asserts that companies’ use of disposal wells constitutes an “ultrahazardous activity” that “causes or contributes” to earthquakes.

StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma oil and gas authorities are finalizing legal action against an oil company in the state. The “financially strapped” Oklahoma energy company has refused to abandon disposal wells suspected of contributing to earthquakes, reports StateImpact. The company, Sandridge Energy, has been ignoring directives from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to shut down six of its disposal wells.

KFOR.com

Last week’s cluster of earthquakes in Edmond, Oklahoma, have revealed a previously unknown fault line, according to NewsOK. This new information could mean more earthquakes in the future, says seismologist Daniel McNamara. Researchers have been using oil and gas industry data to identify previously undocumented fault lines in the state. But sometimes faults are revealed when a series of earthquakes fire off with epicenters in a linear pattern. This is what happened last week in Edmond.

Jim Bickel / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma had more earthquakes in 2015 than every continental state combined, reports Oklahoma City station KOCO. 49 U.S. states—excluding the massive Alaska—recorded a total of almost 1,600 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater last year. Of those, almost 900 were in Oklahoma. The other states had a combined total of 729.

KFOR.com

An animal shelter was at the epicenter of an Edmond, Oklahoma, earthquake last week, reports ABC 13 Houston. The 4.3 magnitude quake rattled the building around 5:40 a.m. last Tuesday. The shaking earth sent tile and light fixtures crashing down on top of cages and cracked cinder block walls.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After a surge of earthquakes has overtaken Oklahoma, researchers have scrambled to figure out what to do about the problem. Their investigations have led them to a certain class of wells, which oil companies fill with wastewater and other fluid byproducts of oil and gas production during the fracking process.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

On Nov. 19 Oklahoma regulators ordered two oil and gas companies to shut down four disposal wells near the town of Crescent. The directive came after a 4.0-magnitude quake was recorded earlier that day, according to StateImpact Oklahoma.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Sandra Ladra, a resident of Prague, Oklahoma, was injured during a 2011 earthquake. Mounting evidence has shown that the earthquakes were caused by the injection of wastewater from fracking. So Sandra decided to sue the oil and gas companies that operate injection wells in her area.

The Wall Street Journal has published a debate about whether oil companies should be held liable for injuries caused by the quakes.

Earthquake Concerns Continue at Cushing, OK, Oil Hub

Nov 9, 2015
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Government and oil-industry officials continue to be concerned about the prospect of earthquakes near the massive Cushing oil hub in Oklahoma, reports StateImpact. A 4.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded near the hub on October 10. After an inspection, no damage was found. But the incident troubled authorities. The U.S.

OK Earthquakes Could Pose Threat to National Security

Oct 28, 2015
Daniel Acker / Bloomberg

The largest commercial oil storage hub in North America is located in Cushing, Oklahoma, reports Bloomberg Business. In the wake of 9/11, concerns were raised about Cushing’s status as a potential target for terrorist attacks. The Safety Alliance of Cushing was formed as a result: an alliance of the FBI, state and local law enforcement and emergency officials.

StateImpact courtesy of KQED Radio / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing for oil and gas officials in Oklahoma to do more to prevent industry-linked earthquakes in the state, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The federal agency has asked industry regulators to reduce injection volumes, among other changes.

One Oil Company Fights New OK Earthquake Regulations

Oct 16, 2015
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After Oklahoma issued regulatory actions to try to curb a rash of oil-industry-related earthquakes in the state, one oil and gas operator is challenging the ruling, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. The Marjo Operating Co. Inc.’s filing is the first effort on the part of the oil and gas industry to prevent regulation.

roy.luck / Flickr Creative Commons

In light of recent earthquakes, officials near the oil hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, are considering a worst-case scenario plan. According to the Journal Record, 11 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have been recorded near the Cushing oil hub since April. If one tank were damaged in a quake, oil companies could easily respond. But if all of the storage tanks were damaged by large earthquakes, first responders would be overwhelmed.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

last month Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin finally acknowledged the oil industry’s culpability in the state’s recent spate of earthquakes. Meanwhile, on August 3rd the state imposed strict new limits on how much waste fluid companies can pump. These cuts are the state’s latest effort to stop the earthquakes, reports NPR member station KOSU. The new regulations require the amount of waste fluid to be cut by 38 percent by October.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/

The Oklahoma state seismologist said disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry are ‘very likely’ responsible for the recent surge of earthquakes in Oklahoma at the recent Oklahoma Geological Survey.  This report is from State Impact Oklahoma.

Austin Holland says the rates and trends in seismicity are very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process in a joint statement with agency interim director Richard D Andrews.

The agency’s acknowledgement follows years of peer-reviewed research linking disposal wells and earthquakes.

Despite long-held suspicions that Oklahoma’s earthquake surge was linked to oil and gas activity, the Oklahoma Geological Survey stay silent amid pressure from oil company executives. State Seismologist Austin Holland admits “intense personal interest” from energy company executives, but says it never affected his scientific findings.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Scientists, regulators and technical experts from the energy industry met in Oklahoma recently.  They discussed how earthquakes triggered by oil and gas operations should be accounted for on national seismic hazard maps reports StateImpact Oklahoma.

Texas regulators tighten disposal well rules

Oct 30, 2014
JENNIFER WHITNEY / TEXAS TRIBUNE

Texas regulators recently tightened up the rules for disposal wells- the ones that get rid of oilfield waste.  The action was in response to a cluster of earthquakes that have rattled North Texas according to a recent article from StateImpact Texas

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