Oil tycoon Harold Hamm told a University of Oklahoma dean last year that he wanted certain scientists there dismissed who were studying links between oil and gas activity and the state's nearly 400-fold increase in earthquakes, according to the dean's e-mail recounting the conversation.
The Oklahoma Geological Survey on April 21 acknowledged Oklahoma’s ongoing earthquake surge is “very likely” triggered by wastewater disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, a formal recognition that comes after years of scientific research that reached similar conclusions.
Wend your way through the forest of red and white oak trees just outside the unincorporated township of Leonard, Oklahoma, and eventually you'll find yourself at Glasnost Road. Glasnost intersects with Observatory Lane-the reflective road signs are written in English and Russian, so you won't get lost-and there you'll come across two modest buildings, one enclosed by a high fence and an unexpected redbud tree.
The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday it is "very likely" that most of the state's recent earthquakes were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling operations.
StateImpact Oklahoma's Joe Wertz appeared on the PBS News Hour with Gwen Ifill tonight to talk about the connection.
Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 2:24 pm
The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday it is “very likely” that most of the state’s recent earthquakes were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling operations.
Geologists have been studying the cause of hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the homes and the nerves of residents in central and north-central Oklahoma, where the pace of oil and gas drilling has accelerated in recent years.
In the fall of 2011, students in Katie Keranen's seismology course at the University of Oklahoma buried portable seismograph stations around the campus, in anticipation of a football game between the Sooners and the Texas A. & M. Aggies.
Until 2008, the state of Oklahoma averaged one or two earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater a year. Then the lid blew off those numbers. Rising year by year. To 20. Then 42. Then hundreds. Last year, Oklahoma had 585 earthquakes that size. This year, it’s on track for more than 700. Walls shake. Bricks fall. It’s nerve-wracking. And, say experts, it’s all about how the state’s energy companies go after oil and gas. And huge volumes of water being pumped deep in the earth. Now the earth is moving.