Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Oklahoma officials have suspected since 2010 that oil is linked to earthquakes, emails reveal

Oklahoma Geological Survey scientists have suspected for years that the state's oil and gas operations were causing a rise in earthquakes but continued to publicly reject such claims until recently, Mike Soraghan reports for EnergyWire. Oklahoma led the lower 48 states in earthquakes with 585 of magnitude 3 or higher in 2014, more than the state had in the previous 35 years combined.

In an email obtained by EnergyWire, OGS seismologist Austin Holland wrote to a senior U.S. Geological Survey official: "Since early 2010 we have recognized the potential for the Jones earthquake swarm to be due to the Hunton dewatering. But until we can demonstrate that scientifically or not we were not going to discuss that publicly."

Publicly "Holland and OGS have been the voice of skepticism in the scientific community about connections between oil production activities and the hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the state," Soraghan writes. And Holland's opinion has often been used by skeptics to prove there is no relation between oil and gas operations and earthquakes. (Read more)

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