Oklahoma Geological Survey is shaking things up amid rash of quakes

The recent earthquakes near Guthrie were along a different fault than previous quakes that have shaken Oklahoma in recent years, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: February 18, 2014
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In response to an ongoing rash of earthquakes, the Oklahoma Geological Survey has installed new monitoring stations throughout the state and earlier this month hired another seismologist.

At least six magnitude 2.5 or greater earthquakes were recorded near Guthrie on Tuesday after a series of quakes in the area over the weekend. The rattling continues a streak of more than 300 such quakes throughout the state over the past two years.

“We’re working as fast as we can, including nights and weekends,” seismologist Austin Holland said. “We certainly understand that people want answers. We’re trying to get those as quickly as we can.”

The geological survey recently installed additional seismographs throughout the state, including one near Guthrie. The equipment helped determine the most recent quakes have occurred along a different fault from previous quakes, including those near Jones and east of Edmond.

“This fault is one likely to have naturally occurring earthquakes on it,” Holland said.

There were no active hydraulic fracturing activities in the area, but the survey is studying whether water injection wells could have contributed to the most recent and other quakes throughout the state, Holland said.

“We’re still looking at that as a possibility, but we’re waiting for data,” he said. “Those determinations can take a very long time to complete.”

Waterworks

While it is still unclear what is causing Oklahoma’s earthquakes, part of the investigation has centered on whether water injection wells could be contributing. It also is possible that the recent quakes are a result of natural causes, Holland said.

Water injection wells have been connected to earthquakes in Ohio and other isolated parts of the country.

On average, wells in Oklahoma produce about 10 barrels of saltwater for every barrel of oil they release. Some of the state’s rocks — including northern Oklahoma’s Mississippian formation — produce up to twice that volume of water.


by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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AT A GLANCE

Oklahoma earthquakes

greater than magnitude 2.5

Tuesday

2.8: 7 miles southwest of Guthrie at 9:17 a.m.

2.7: 6 miles southeast of Medford at 8:22 a.m.

2.8: 6 miles southwest of Guthrie at 6:29 a.m.

3.3: 5 miles southwest of Guthrie at 6:16 a.m.

3.8: 7 miles south of Guthrie at 5:53 a.m.

2.6: 12 miles southwest of McCord at 1:15 a.m.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

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