Is Oklahoma OK? Nearly 200 Earthquakes Over the Past 30 Days
It's not unusual for Oklahoma to have earthquakes, but this is crazy. Did you know that the Sooner State has had nearly 200 earthquakes in just the past 30 days? It begs the question is Oklahoma really OK?
I am a bit of an earthquake nerd and check the USGS shake page often. I noticed this week that Oklahoma had more quakes than I'm used to seeing in that region, so I began doing some research. This is the USGS map showing just the quakes that have happened in Oklahoma over the past 30 days.
Note that this map also shows quarry blasts which Oklahoma has a lot of. The diamonds near the Tulsa region represent that.
What causes earthquakes in Oklahoma? (Spoiler Alert - It's Not Fracking)
It's not exactly breaking news that oil is a big industry in Oklahoma. Wikipedia did a deep dive on the subject of all the swarms that have hit Oklahoma especially since 2009. They offered this answer:
Scientific studies attribute the rise in earthquakes to the disposal of wastewater produced during oil extraction that has been injected more deeply into the ground.
So the oil industry is responsible for the ground shaking every now and then is what they're still saying.
The largest quake that has hit Oklahoma recently was a devastating 5.6 magnitude quake that did more than $1 million dollars damage on November 5, 2011. It was significant enough that it caused the leaders in Oklahoma to start discussing regulation of the disposal of wastewater and monitoring its connection to earthquakes.
This big uptick over the past 30 days makes you wonder if there is another significant quake like the one in 2011 just around the corner.