In California, earthquake prep is the norm. With the San Andreas fault line going directly through the state, most everyone knows the state can expect a few tremors. However, a new location for high-risk tremors has appeared on the U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake map: Oklahoma.
There have been increasing reports of earthquakes in Oklahoma, and many are pointing fingers at the oil and gas industry for injecting wastewater from fracking deep into the ground. For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey is recognizing these human-induced earthquakes and has included Oklahoma and part of Southern Kansas on the 2016 forecasted damage from earthquakes in the U.S.
Last April, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin finally recognized the the research showing that injection wells cause earthquakes, and last year the commission began shutting down disposal wells and mandating reductions in wastewater injection in some areas. But still, the earthquake problem won’t be going away soon. Just in the past week, Oklahoma has experienced eight earthquakes with a magnitude over 3.0.
“The work of scientists has established that disposal wells are creating earthquakes,” says Mark Zoback, a geophysicist at Stanford University whose research was used by the USGS. “Now the question is how do we deal with it.” One answer: Definitely not by ignoring it.