Thursday, September 24, 2015

Oklahoma, where rise in earthquakes linked to oil and gas industry, losing its only state seismologist

Oklahoma, the heart of the hotly contested debate of the link between oil and gas wells and seismic activity and the controversy of whether or not officials withheld information on that front, could soon be without a state seismologist, Adam Wilmoth reports for The Oklahoman. "State seismologist Amberlee Darold has accepted another position and will step down next month. Her action comes less than three months after seismologist Austin Holland left for a position with the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico." (EcoWatch graphic: Oklahoma earthquakes linked to the oil and gas industry)

Oklahoma, which in 2014 led the lower 48 states in earthquakes with 585 of magnitude 3 or higher, surpassed that total in August.

"Chris Hartnady, a South African geologist, said in a study released in March that part of Oklahoma is in danger of a larger earthquake," Will Tracy reports for The O'Colly at Oklahoma State University. "The area of risk is positioned near Guthrie, Langston and Stillwater, according to the study. The distribution of recent epicenters reveals possible hidden faults, which may be oriented for re-activation, and earthquakes greater than magnitude 5 could shake the region on a weekly basis by the end of 2015, according to the study."

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