Monday, January 04, 2016

Oklahoma had more earthquakes in 2015 than every state combined, excluding Alaska

Oklahoma—where seismic activity has been linked to the oil and gas industry—had more earthquakes in 2015 than the combined total of every state except Alaska, Brad Sowder reports for KOCO 5 in Oklahoma City. In 2015, Oklahoma had 857 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher, compared to 729 in the other 48 states. Last year's total also easily surpassed the state record of 585 earthquakes from 2014. Prior to the oil and gas boom of 2009, Oklahoma averaged two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher per year.

"State officials in April 2015 acknowledged that the increased shaking was related to oil and gas operations, ending years of waffling extended at times by interference from the politically powerful oil and gas industry," Mike Soraghan reports for Environment & Energy News. Last summer, Oklahoma Corporation Commission officials "started asking operators of wells in earthquake-prone areas to reduce injection volumes or cease operations. The agency's 'directives' are voluntary but backed by the threat of formal, mandatory action." (KOCO graphic)

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