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Oklahoma seeing surge in earthquakes near fracking sites

  • Oklahoma is experiencing a noticeable increase in earthquakes near drilling sites, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, suggesting a potential link between fracking and seismic activity.
  • The state already has experienced as many earthquakes YTD than all of last year combined: 109 earthquakes with a magnitude 3 or higher through April 6, the same number of earthquakes as in all of 2013.
  • The incidents pose a conundrum for regulators in a state that has fully embraced oil and gas drilling.
  • Among drillers with a significant Oklahoma presence: CHK, CLR, APA, DVN, SD, EOG, MRO, OKE, OKS, GPOR, WPX, WMB, WPZ, LPI, CWEI, NFX, NGL, COG, WLL, NBL, MPO, PQ, XEC
Comments (40)
  • MEKhoury
    , contributor
    Comments (289) | Send Message
     
    How big are these earthquakes, and have they caused any property damage?
    10 Apr 2014, 10:48 AM Reply Like
  • Sundowner
    , contributor
    Comments (263) | Send Message
     
    Contrary to popular opinion, the health of Planet Earth does matter. Yes there has been property damage, minimal so far, but not so minimal to the folks affected. Maybe it's coincidence and maybe not, but it's all happening in the concentrated frackin; zones...
    10 Apr 2014, 12:23 PM Reply Like
  • LLWeldon
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Link to the news story with more details..... http://bit.ly/R6gTsZ
    10 Apr 2014, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • Stone Fox Capital
    , contributor
    Comments (6843) | Send Message
     
    some in the 4.4 range... its strange to have lived in OK for a while and suddenly have all these earthquakes.
    10 Apr 2014, 10:54 AM Reply Like
  • PalmDesertRat
    , contributor
    Comments (3345) | Send Message
     
    We have earthquakes daily in California. Somehow we survive (so far,anyway).

     

    Considering all the money Oklahoma takes in from the o&g industry, a few small earthquakes don't seem like a small price to pay.
    10 Apr 2014, 10:58 AM Reply Like
  • Copious28
    , contributor
    Comments (416) | Send Message
     
    The price comes when you add earthquake insurance to your house. Houses in places outside of California are not built to handle even small tremors. If they would just recycle the waste water instead of injecting it into the ground, its likely the earthquakes would stop.
    10 Apr 2014, 11:23 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (6726) | Send Message
     
    The People's Republic of California has its own way of putting things. So houses are built to withstand earthquakes in California. How about draught, smog, mudslides and massive forest fires. Don't forget about lack of water in the south. Except for Silicon Valley, Disney Land, and wine country; it has overpopulated itself. Don't forget about that fence in San Diego
    16 Apr 2014, 02:11 PM Reply Like
  • Van Hyder
    , contributor
    Comments (169) | Send Message
     
    Anybody remember the Futurama episode where the planet was mined hollow for dark matter and then collapses. That's the ludicrous mental image I feel these types of meme's are trying to portray. Instead of the sky falling its the earth, scary stuff (sarcasm intended).
    10 Apr 2014, 11:00 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (6726) | Send Message
     
    Does Japan or Chile frack? This is another issue of man thinking he has some control over the environment. We let our ego's get in the way of reality. We could also say the sun comes up every day where there is fracking! Wonder if the fact OK is on a fault line has anything to do with the earthquakes? Hello, people let's wake up.
    10 Apr 2014, 11:04 AM Reply Like
  • jermac100
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Oklahoma has two fault line they run along the areas of the quakes
    10 Apr 2014, 12:48 PM Reply Like
  • ea1000
    , contributor
    Comments (129) | Send Message
     
    Great ! Let's "unfrack" and stop the earthquakes worldwide ..
    10 Apr 2014, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (6726) | Send Message
     
    ea,

     

    I fracking agree with that.
    16 Apr 2014, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • johnch789
    , contributor
    Comments (45) | Send Message
     
    soooo surprised .... I mean this is astonishing that if one fracks , drills, excavates the earth there is going to be a reaction by the earth? come on let's put on blinders made of money while we tell our children how very sorry we are for screwing mother nature... they appreciate it much more than if we gathered energy in a more sensible manner.... I love this below !!!! for heavens sake keep this quiet ..keep calm , drill on. dumbarses

     

    """The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association denies the link, and says the jury is still out. “We’re trying to make sure we understand what data the state needs in order to start making some determinations on cause and effect” said Chad Warmington, the trade association’s President. “We don’t want anybody to jump to conclusions.” The group doesn’t want Oklahoma regulators to halt drilling operations"""
    10 Apr 2014, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • jazzbeachbunny
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    It will be interesting to see how you feel when you cannot use your TV computers, cars, phones and energy will "necessarily will skyrocket" Gee I wonder who said that.
    10 Apr 2014, 10:06 PM Reply Like
  • Buyandhold 2012
    , contributor
    Comments (2809) | Send Message
     
    Oklahoma has been seeing a surge of earthquakes near fracking sites. That does not necessarily mean that the surge in earthquakes was caused by the fracking. The surge in earthquakes may have occurred even if there had not been any fracking since there are fault lines in that area.

     

    There was also some negative publicity regarding fracking somewhere in the Northeast. I remember watching television and seeing a man lighting a match near his kitchen faucet and the faucet suddenly looked like a blowtorch.

     

    Fracking is an unfortunate word to have been chosen to describe the process. Fracking sounds like something people used to be arrested for in hotel rooms.
    The public relations people need to find a better name for fracking. How about
    "ecological enhancement"? That has a more positive ring.
    10 Apr 2014, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (6726) | Send Message
     
    What is proves is environmentalist are more like obstructionist.
    16 Apr 2014, 02:13 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Filloon
    , contributor
    Comments (4276) | Send Message
     
    These earthquakes are probably due to salt water disposal wells that are near/around fault lines. If there are earthquakes in a specific area, the state would just need to close down the disposal well or wells to rectify the situation.
    http://bit.ly/R6fuTg
    10 Apr 2014, 12:29 PM Reply Like
  • Robsky
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    It might be the case that releasing built up energy in the ground gradually by fracking is better than having one huge quake which might not now happen.
    Just a thought !
    10 Apr 2014, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • Kim Feil
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
     
    and if it goes the other way....the smaller quakes are building up to bigger or seeds up the “BIG ONE”? not the risk “most” aren’t willing to take..but then again you seem to have skin in the game for a drill baby drill cause it makes me money? deal
    10 Apr 2014, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • Randy W
    , contributor
    Comments (90) | Send Message
     
    I'm with Robsky. Much rather have 100 magnitude 4 quakes than one with a six. Water disposal is a special problem that needs close watching. It doesn't help for Arab countries to publish video's that show people burning gas from their kitchen faucets.
    10 Apr 2014, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • JOSEF555
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    have heard of this new concern about Fracking causing quakes. Pollution of water supply is obviously not working (as they hoped) in sabotaging oil industry, so somebody from no drill crowd had to come up with something new. Geologists (those with brain and conscience) realize that pressure in the earth crust, resulting from its natural movement being impeded, is something humans can't control; we can only learn how to live with it. Fracking does not cause tectonic pressure so it is not a root cause of quakes; it only can dislodge some locations and relieve that pressure. Since (ideally) free movement of the crust eliminates a dangerous buildup of pressure, Fracking is actually beneficial and protects people and their property from large quakes by artificially moving situation toward that ideal.
    Ignorant people can complain about cracks in the foundation, but they should realize, that it is caused by natural forces and Fracking saved them from dangerous quakes with much more damage potential to their property. If they do not like that fact, they should look for some other planet where physical laws do not apply and I wish them luck on their journey. Actually, geologists (those I mentioned before) can consider some variation of Fracking for quake management. I am not saying that it is easy task, they might not afford financially 100% control but at least manage the most dangerous locations. If the big quake is known to hit some area, would not it be better to secure the place and trigger quake at chosen time relatively safely, compare to waiting like a sheep to be randomly slaughtered? As usually, environmentalists have no realistic assessment of the situation and politicians whose agenda is to stop drilling - period, are reaching for this as a welcome false argument. They should see here an opportunity to manage catastrophic quakes instead, if they really care. Fracking is good; geologists should just include a consideration for larger quakes and make safety arrangement in case of that risk. Not to stop Fracking, just to manage safety, since the big one is coming anyway and without Fracking it gets worse. If somebody wants to patent this idea, I do not mind. My article has direct impact on oil industry and indirect one on investing in that field by bringing sanity to the debate and expose true nature of the problems as they relate to the Fracking.
    11 Apr 2014, 02:12 AM Reply Like
  • Robsky
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    You could ultimately be correct Kim, but logically fracking splits rock and creates spaces within it and extracts oil and gas and therefor releases built up pressure.
    11 Apr 2014, 09:08 AM Reply Like
  • Craig Cooper
    , contributor
    Comments (2351) | Send Message
     
    Probably worth repeating part of a discussion from 2012:

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    11 Apr 2014, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • User 7547651
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Yes, we have property damage. Oklahoma City is a clay soil base, so often our foundations crack just by time, couple that with the ground moving inches, even feet with every Earthquake, (mind you...this will not be covered under insurance) and the damage has mostly certainly already taken its toll on thousands and thousands of foundations. The will hurt our resell values and in time, cause pipes - sewer and drinking - to burst or become nonfunctional, as well as loosen our natural gas lines to perhaps cause explosions or dangerous leaks. Oklahoma never had Earthquakes in the past....
    10 Apr 2014, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • heglimp
    , contributor
    Comments (561) | Send Message
     
    User 7547651,

     

    Yes, Oklahoma has had earthquakes every year in the past.
    10 Apr 2014, 07:30 PM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (6726) | Send Message
     
    User,

     

    We have a secret weapon. Tornadoes. We wipe the slate clean every few years and build new homes.
    16 Apr 2014, 02:15 PM Reply Like
  • commonsensesuggestion
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Hmmm, there is no data for the number of fracks that have occurred YTD vs the fracks that were completed last year. Wouldn't this be necessary for an intelligent person to make an assumption like this? One can make many uninformed assumptions with only partial data. I'm not an expert in this area, but just using some common sense and brief research, on March 17, 1949, the first hydraulic fracture was done on an oil well about 12 miles east of Duncan, Oklahoma and has been used ever since. If the fracking was the cause of earthquakes, wouldn't the earthquakes have been more common than now?
    10 Apr 2014, 12:37 PM Reply Like
  • commonsensesuggestion
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Hmmm, if someone were to make this assumption, wouldn't we need the data on how many wells have been fracked YTD compared to how many wells were fracked last year as well? A little common sense tells me that if you are going to make this comparison, one should compare the frenquency increase of the earthquakes with the fracking activity also. I would be interested in that data, instead of an ignorant, uninformed guess. I am not an expert in fracking, but a little common sense and some brief research tells me this is not an informed assumption. On March 17, 1949, the first hydraulic fracturing of an oil well about 12 miles east of Duncan, Oklahoma occurred. If fracking were the cause of the earthquake, and with the frequency of fracking in the state, there would have been much more earthquake activity before now. But that is just intelligence and logical reasoning speaking.
    10 Apr 2014, 12:37 PM Reply Like
  • Richard Waldren
    , contributor
    Comments (236) | Send Message
     
    The biggest earthquake in america I believe was in Missouri in the 1850's or so at about 8+. So there is a big fault zone in their somewhere.
    10 Apr 2014, 01:08 PM Reply Like
  • Lester Hayes
    , contributor
    Comments (94) | Send Message
     
    The biggest earthquake in the US was actually a 9.2 in Alaska. The Missouri earthquake registered 7.7, which would make it the 18th largest quake ever recorded in the US.

     

    Fault lines can often have cluster quakes, and would make it appear that there are a record number of quakes. The shallow depth of these recent quakes may suggest that these were induced by some external factor, such as human activities or hydrologic loads. There could be a number of reasons for these recent quakes. The Acardia Lakes region in Oklahoma has seen a significant increase in earthquakes over the past few years with no correlation to hydraulic fracturing, or slat water wells.

     

    Sit back and enjoy the ride.
    10 Apr 2014, 03:32 PM Reply Like
  • BILL KENNEDY
    , contributor
    Comments (86) | Send Message
     
    Mr. Waldren: It's the New Madrid Fault Zone. Think the northwestern tip of Tennessee and the southeastern tip of Missouri. There were three very strong quakes in Dec. 1811, Jan. and Feb. 1812. All of these were strong, with the first two probably high 7's and the last possibly as high as 8.5. That one formed Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. Quakes between 6 and 7 occurred in 1845 and 1895 and a 5.4 in 1968. Somewhere in the vicinity of 50 years ago equipment was installed to monitor seismic activity and thousands of earthquakes have been recorded since with a couple per year strong enough to be felt.

     

    In central Tennessee buildings can still be found from the pre Civil War period that have "earthquake bars." That's a bar, or bars, connecting opposing walls that, in theory at least, would help keep them in synch during a quake and, hopefully, help keep the interior from collapsing straight down when the exterior walls moved in opposite directions.

     

    Some sources believe the area is 30 years or so overdue for a 6+.

     

    Cordially
    12 Apr 2014, 03:27 PM Reply Like
  • Kim Feil
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
     
    Azle TX too have had their share now the RRC who regulates oil and gas in TEXAS has now hired a seismologist to investigate...there was a study saying that the longer and more filled an injection well gets the more intense the quakes...there is also a study where two years later the DFW Airport was seeing reminent activity even after they shut down the drilling cause they feared for subsidence ruining and endangering folks at our DFW airport...
    10 Apr 2014, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • TreyT
    , contributor
    Comments (276) | Send Message
     
    Michael got it right. To claim this is related to "fracking" is a reach at best and outright lie at worst. Likely intending to mislead to generate clicks and/or reaction by various news and governmental sites.

     

    This is linked to wastewater disposal wells. The wastewater can be a byproduct of "fracking" but the earthquakes are likely NOT because a well was fracked but instead the manner in which the wastewater was disposed of. BIG difference.
    10 Apr 2014, 04:36 PM Reply Like
  • kengps
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
     
    Small earthquakes to relieve built up stresses are highly desirable to allowing it to build up and release in a catastrophic manner. This is nothing more than a convenient lie to shut down oil development. Same with the Flaming faucets. Want to stop Flaming faucets, then drill and frac to drain the gas out of the reservoir. Flaming ponds, and faucets have been around much longer than Fracking. As have earthquakes. I realize this will require some people to climb out of the box they're in and peek outside into reality. But oil production is good for life. Carbon is being sequestered naturally underground. We are at an atmospheric level about a quarter of where maximum Biodiversity occurred. The truth is this planet has a Carbon starved atmosphere. At around half of present day levels the planet gets dangerously close to dying. The earth has gotten very close to that level before.
    10 Apr 2014, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • Harold McGowen
    , contributor
    Comments (32) | Send Message
     
    Tectonic activity is a reality of life on earth - we are all floating on tectonic plates. Making this connection between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes in this fashion is unscientific. Co-incidence does not prove causation. There may be more data, but only two data points are mentioned here - last year and the first part of this year. This hardly constitutes a statistically significant study.

     

    The seismic events measured during hydraulic fracturing treatments via microseismic sensors are roughly 1,000 to 1,000,000 times less than the energy released in an earthquake that can be measured on the Richter scale. The volume of fluids being pumped into the formations being treated during a hydraulic fracturing treatment are actually relatively small relative to the bulk rock volume and they are spread out over a very large area as compared to salt water disposal wells. Fracking takes place very deep, salt water disposal takes place in much shallower zones.

     

    If there is a connection, and there is not evidence presented here that this is the case, it is most likely between injection wells drilled into naturally occurring faults where extremely large amounts of fluid have been pumped into the fault over many years resulting in an increase in net pressure within the fault. Once the fault dilates the friction between the fault faces drops and the fault slips, relieving stress in that region. Shutting down older injection wells, placing volume and pressure limits on injection wells, moving injection to another area and avoiding placing injection wells in proximity to faults would be the best approach to remedy this problem if a scientific connection between the earthquakes and the injection can be established.
    11 Apr 2014, 12:47 AM Reply Like
  • Gyrolock
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    It's a well understood fact that earthquakes relieve stress. Therefore, if fracking causes a lot of small earthquakes, then the release of strain reduces the chance of a big one. That's a very good thing.
    12 Apr 2014, 05:24 PM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (6726) | Send Message
     
    Gyro,

     

    What a great point!!!
    16 Apr 2014, 02:16 PM Reply Like
  • davecannon13
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    This is an attempt to link hydraulic fracturing (anyone who says fracking doesn't work in the industry) that is false. The tenuous relationship here is with water disposal sites not active stimulation. However, it is better for the political agenda to blame it on hydraulic fracturing. I say tenuous earlier because if you look at the data, the amount of water being injected in the seismically active area has remained constant for 20 years and the seismic activity has increased in the last 4 years. Some could say a threshold has been reached to adequately increase the shallow pore pressure enough to cause seismic activity but the science is still in its infancy. There are current studies by OGS in cooperation with Stanford University to study this issue. It is completely backed and funded by the operators within Oklahoma. Not one cent to study the effects of SW injection is being funded by environmentalist groups. They would rather sit back and take unfounded pot shots at the industry to garner public buzz and affect the uninformed. All the earthquakes have been shallow (less than 3 miles) and there are other potential contributing factors. They include natural water table fluctuations due to drought and rainy seasons. Also, Oklahoma has many faults that are near the area of seismic activity and the region is situated very close to the major, deep seated fault zone at New Madrid. Any compressional stress changes at that major fault zone can translate for 100's of miles and cause sympathetic movement along lesser fault complexes.

     

    I'm not saying that SW injection is not a contributing factor, it may very well be. However, the science is ongoing and conclusions should be based on repeatable scientific study, not political agendas.
    26 Apr 2014, 03:03 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Filloon
    , contributor
    Comments (4276) | Send Message
     
    davecannon13,

     

    Great comment
    27 Apr 2014, 10:06 PM Reply Like
  • Richard Waldren
    , contributor
    Comments (236) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Bill.
    2 May 2014, 12:43 AM Reply Like
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