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Seismic Study at Site of OK Earthquakes

Filed by Michael Cross in Feature, Local News, News.
December 12, 2011

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An oil exploration company spoke before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission about plans to do a seismic study near Prague where a record earthquake hit last month.

South Star is spending $5 million to map 77 sections of land near the Wilzetta fault line east of Oklahoma City which will provide 3-D images comparable to a CAT scan.

The study involves putting vibrations through the earth to get an idea of the composition of the ground.

Geologist Bryan Waller says the company will be sharing the data with the Oklahoma Geological Survey to help understand the earthquakes which shook the state last month.

“We’ve imaged some areas even further east of here and seen some real interesting basement structures that I know aren’t published and people have no idea they’re there.”

Waller says he doesn’t believe the earthquakes were caused by oil and gas exploration; a statement echoed by the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

That said, OGS Research Seismologist Austin Holland is investigating what impact energy production is having on seismic events.

“We will not rule it out as we do our research. It’s something I’m looking at and hopefully we can get a better understanding of what the hazard associated with human activities could be in association with earthquakes.”

Holland says the seismic study is becoming more common in the state and hopes more exploration companies will provide data to the agency.

All parties also agree the vibrations sent through the ground aren’t strong enough to cause earthquakes.

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