Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Oklahoma’s Earthquake ‘Swarm’ in One Chart

Quake swarm

EQ Charts

Magnitude 2.0 and greater Oklahoma earthquakes from 1990-2014.

EQ Charts has created a really great visual of Oklahoma’s earthquake “swarm.” The chart was built with data from the U.S. Geological Survey, and shows quakes of 2.0-magnitude or greater.

Most people can feel earthquakes that are 3.0-magnitude or greater. Earthquakes have increased exponentially in Oklahoma, a phenomenon federal and university seismologists have linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry.

The Sooner State has been seismically active historically, but Central Oklahoma’s 2009-2014 earthquake “swarm” is unusual because, as USGS seismologist Bill Leith writes, the quakes don’t seem “to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates.”

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  • Guest

    “seismologists have linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry.

    There is no scientific certainty surrounding the phenomenon.

    • Jack Wolf

      See Science July 11, 2013 study, the Columbia U Youngstown study, and the Southern Methodist University study to name a few.
      Funny how it all started when fracking began…. I own a house near the Youngstown OH line. Sorry, you won’t get a sympathetic ear from me.

    • ydnas639

      Which oil or gas company writes your paycheck?

      • AntiLimbaugh

        Follow the money….to the denialists.

    • AntiLimbaugh

      Lots of USGS seismic records for the last 20 years can establish a baseline. Where there is smoke there is fire.

  • Carlos Bravo

    A 5.6 that damages buildings (as they had last week) is enough cause to stop drilling, if they really think that is a cause.

    • AntiLimbaugh

      Too much money at stake. No one wants to believe there is a man made reason for the quakes.

  • Hapax

    Are you guys sure this isn’t magmatic in origin? That’s what it looks like…

    • What makes you think it looks magmatic?

      • Hapax

        The earthquakes are clumped around certain points (as in the case of Yellowstone) rather than spread out along a fault-line; and this clumping is not specifically associated with centers of fracking activity.
        In a stable continental area, if it’s not fracking-induced, it’s magmatic. The authorities refusal even to mention this magmatic option is in itself further indication of its likelihood, IMO.

        • C.B.

          According to the latest magnetic anomaly grid there are elevated levels of magnetism but those levels still don’t account for the seismic activity. Consequently, most Shale Basins tend to follow the areas of higher magnetism and this is the case world-wide.

        • AntiLimbaugh

          Gravity meter surveys “might” verify magmatic activity.

        • It means it’s time to ship used cars, washing machines, blenders, and coffee grinders to Mars. They should be stored inside Olympus Mons. All the vibrations are contributing to earthquakes as well as trains. Droughts occur when water falls into the cracks–remember, water seeks its lowest level. When the water hits the mantle, it melts rock, creating magma and releases steam.

  • AntiLimbaugh

    It would be interesting to stop with disposal and see if the quakes suddenly drop off. Do this about 10 times over 10 years and you’ll be able to see a correlation if any.

  • troy

    This is so funny. Common folk tryin to concoct a geophysical diagnosis over something even the highest authorities on earthquakes still have only a SOMEWHAT educated guess about. In other words, handle your own business, cuz this kind of silly banter just makes anyone sound so foolish. I have to admit, it IS GOOD for a laugh. The same kind of laugh you get from watching a YouTube video about people at Wal-Mart. : )

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