So far, reports of earthquakes caused by drilling activity have been limited to small tremors that shake more nerves than bricks and mortar. But EnergyWire reports today on an earthquake that shook Oklahoma last November, which caused serious property damage. And some residents are linking it to a nearby injection well.
The 5.6 magnitude quake struck near two deep injection wells, where wastewater from oil drilling is shot at high pressure down into the earth. These are the same types of wells that caused earthquakes in Ohio earlier this year. EnergyWire reporter Mike Soraghan reports that residents like Jerri Loveland, and seismologists, see a connection.
“The oil companies that operate the nearby wells say they couldn’t have triggered the quake. But scientists say injection certainly can unleash earthquakes. University of Oklahoma seismologist Katie Keranen, who has been studying the earthquake since the day it happened, says there’s evidence to back up Loveland’s hunch.
“There’s a compelling link between the zone of injection and seismicity,” Keranen said at a seismological conference in April. She’s one of a handful of scientists who see evidence of such a connection.”