StateImpact’s Earthquake Research Reading List

  • Joe Wertz


Scientists say oil and gas activity is likely responsible for much of the earthquake activity that has surged in Oklahoma since 2009.

Seismologists, regulators, lawmakers, oil industry experts and everyday Oklahomans trying to understand the earthquake phenomenon — known as “induced seismicity” — face two seemingly contradictory observations: Oklahoma has a long history of oil and gas production, and the recent period of increased earthquake activity is comparatively short.

Oklahoma’s earthquake uptick is the central focus of a growing number of scientific papers, and researchers say a better understanding of the quakes and their links to disposal wells is key to identifying and managing suspected oil and gas-related quakes in other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas.

Researchers are also curious why induced earthquakes don’t appear to be plaguing other major oil and gas states, like North Dakota.

If you want to take a deep dive into the science linking Oklahoma’s earthquakes to oil and gas activity, we’ve compiled a reading list of peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals.

Below you’ll find our reading guide, which includes the name, date and publication source — and an excerpt from the abstract. You can follow the link to read more, but it’s important to note that access to the full text of many of the papers requires a purchase or subscription to the publication.

We’ll update this list as new research is published.