Thursday, March 02, 2017

Risk of man-made earthquakes down in Texas, Okla. with decrease of oil field wastewater disposal

USGS says the risk of damaging quakes triggered
by oil field wastewater disposal is lower
this year but still significant.
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey say a decline in oil field wastewater disposal has led to a decrease in risk from man-made earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas, Mike Soraghan reports for Energywire. But they warn "that there's still a significant chance for oil field activity to trigger a damaging quake in the next year."

USGS's second annual hazard map forecasting the danger of damaging quakes caused by man-made activity was published this week in the journal Seismological Research Letters, Soraghan writes. "The forecast showed a slight decrease in Oklahoma, although some portions are still considered to have a 10 to 12 percent risk of a damaging quake. But the Dallas area was removed from the map. That meant the number of people considered to be at elevated risk from man-made quakes dropped from 7 million to about 3.5 million."

"The likelihood of damaging ground shaking in central Oklahoma remains similar to that of natural earthquakes in high-hazard areas of California, according to the USGS assessment," Soraghan writes. "And USGS officials noted the level of hazard remains higher than what current building codes take into account. The forecast maps released yesterday indicate that the Raton Basin area along the Colorado-New Mexico border also remains at elevated risk. An area in West Texas, where companies have increased production from the Permian Basin, was added as being at a slightly elevated risk of damage from quakes."

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