This post is dedicated to all harmed by petroleum industry induced earthquakes and to Fox Creek’s Ms. Barb Ryan, frac quake data observer and collector extraordinaire.
Thank you Ms. Ryan.
Do we believe industry and its enabling regulators when they promise us quakes caused by fracing and waste injection are only very small and we won’t feel them or if we do, it will just feel like a truck driving by?
As of Midnight, September 3, 2016, the USGS received 58,628 reports of persons having felt the 5.6M Pawnee Oklahoma earthquake, as far as 2,323 km away in Boston MA (6 reports). There were two reports of Canadians having felt the quake, one in Kitchener, Ontario, 1606 km away, and one in Stratford, Ontario, 1566 km away.
Felt reports to USGS, click on DYFI to see all 58,628 reports.
Cushing is critical oil infrastructure in the USA, frac quakes put it at major risk.
And, a super shallow 4.0M in Montana, 1.5 km deep
EVEN REPORTED IN CANADIAN MEDIA!
VIDEO AT LINK: Earthquake shakes swath of Midwest from Nebraska to Texas by The Associated Press, September 3, 2016, Global News
OKLAHOMA CITY – A record-tying earthquake in the edge of Oklahoma’s key energy-producing areas rattled the Midwest from Nebraska to North Texas on Saturday and likely will focus fresh new attention to the practice of disposing oil and gas field wastewater deep underground.
The United States Geological Survey said a 5.6 magnitude earthquake happened at 7:02 a.m. Saturday in north-central Oklahoma, on the fringe of an area where regulators had stepped in to limit wastewater disposal. That temblor matches a November 2011 quake in the same region.
People in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Norman, Oklahoma, all reported feeling the earthquake. Dallas TV station WFAA tweeted that the quake shook their studios, too.
Pawnee County Emergency Management Director Mark Randell said no buildings collapsed in Pawnee, a town of 2,200 about 9 miles southeast of the epicenter, and there were no injuries, either.
“We’ve got buildings cracked,” Randell said. “Most of it’s brick and mortar, old buildings from the early 1900s.”
The office of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin tweeted that state highway crews were checking for bridge damage and the state Department of Emergency Management would assess damage and determine how to address it. Geologists say damage is not likely in earthquakes below magnitude 4.0; no major damage was immediately reported Saturday.
An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. State regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes in earthquake-prone regions of the state. Some parts of Oklahoma now match northern California for the nation’s most shake-prone, and one Oklahoma region has a 1 in 8 chance of a damaging quake in 2016, with other parts closer to 1 in 20.
Matt Skinner, the spokesman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the energy industry, said members of the panel’s seismicity team were at work and would provide more details “as available.”
The area where the quake was centred saw a magnitude 3.2 temblor earlier this week and is on the edge of a region covered by a “regional earthquake response plan” issued in March by the state Corporation Commission, whose goal was the cut the number of earthquakes by reducing wastewater injection volume by 40 per cent from 2014 levels.
Oklahoma was late in imposing volume limits in its effort to reduce earthquakes, taking a different approach than Kansas after both states had an uptick in quakes in the first half of this decade. Kansas moved quickly to limit volume while Oklahoma concentrated on the depth of the disposal. Kansas saw a 60 per cent drop while the frequency of quakes in Oklahoma continued to climb.
Sean Weide in Omaha, Nebraska, told the AP that he’d never been in an earthquake before and thought he was getting dizzy. Weide said he and one of his daughters “heard the building start creaking” and said it “was surreal.” [Emphasis added]
37 Wastewater Wells Ordered Shut Down In Oklahoma September 3, 2016, News9
Map of waste water injection wells ordered shut down after 5.6M earthquake in Pawnee Oklahoma
PAWNEE, Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has directed dozens of wastewater disposal wells within an approximate 725-square-mile radius of the epicenter the Oklahoma earthquake to shut down.
The commission said about 37 wells are included in the directive, which was issued following the 5.6-magnitude earthquake that struck Saturday morning about nine miles northwest of Pawnee in north, central Oklahoma.
This directive includes 211 square miles of Osage County [Sour Gas Insanity Field!] which is outside of the corporation’s oil and gas division. The Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in Osage County, will determine what action to take in that area.
The number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes has skyrocketed in Oklahoma, from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year.
Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said the wells were directed to shut down due to scientific links that the increase to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production induces earthquakes. The commission has previously asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes. [Is the regulator’s quake mitigation working?]
The earthquake ties the record for the strongest earthquake in recorded Oklahoma history. No major damage was reported, and there was one minor injury.
The 37 wells will be shut down within 10 days and will vary. The corporation said the schedule is necessary because seismologists said a large scale, sudden shutdown could cause an earthquake.
This is actually the largest number of wells the OCC has ever ordered to shut down at one time, and the order is indefinite.
This is also the first emergency action taken since the commission was given that authority this year.
Scientists and politicians were quick to reach the scene in Pawnee.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford applauded the local response, but did not make a connection between the wells there and the earthquakes.
“We’re in an historic fault line,” Lankford said while visiting the town. “We know that in Oklahoma, but it’s also not been active in a long time, so they’re trying to determine is this a cycle? Are some of these related to the injection wells and some of them are not? Are all of them related? No one has any idea.”
OSU geology professor Todd Halihan said there is a known connection.
“Even as you turn down the wells, you still can have earthquakes occur if they were induced,” Halihan said.
He and other seismologists are installing new equipment to study the aftershocks they say are still to come.
However, that tens of millions of dollars are needed to go underground to research the real link between injection wells and seismic activity, Halihan said. [Who’s going to pay for that? The industry causing the quakes and massive damages? What about the damages underground that are not visible or reparable? Gas migration one dangerous example. How many buildings are now at risk of exploding? What about sour gas migrating into hospitals, schools, homes, water wells, restuarants?]
“It probably would have to be something like a federal response, but there has to be some investment in what’s happening in the sub-surface, not just watching what went in and what came out,” he said. [Ya, but that costs money and the oil and gas industry is selfish, cruel and greedy]
Halihan said academics like himself are excited by the prospects of learning new information from Saturday’s earthquakes. Unlike the Prague earthquake in 2011, geological surveyors already had equipment in place in Pawnee.
Halihan said he is concerned about where the next event might hit, as Pawnee was also more populated than Prague. [Emphasis added]
Record-tying Oklahoma earthquake felt as far away as Arizona by Ken Miller, September 3, 2016, Big Story, Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A record-tying earthquake in the edge of Oklahoma’s key energy-producing areas rattled the Midwest from Illinois to the southwest part of Texas on Saturday, bringing fresh attention to the practice of disposing oil and gas field wastewater deep underground.
The United States Geological Survey said a 5.6 magnitude earthquake happened at 7:02 a.m. Saturday in north-central Oklahoma, on the fringe of an area where regulators had stepped in to limit wastewater disposal. That temblor matches a November 2011 quake in the same region.
An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. [and frac’ing directly]
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which since 2013 has asked wastewater-well owners to reduce disposal volumes in parts of the state, is requiring 37 wells in a 514 square-mile area around the epicenter of the earthquake to shut down within seven to 10 days because of previous connections between the injection of wastewater and earthquakes.
“All of our actions have been based on the link that researchers have drawn between the Arbuckle disposal well operations and earthquakes in Oklahoma,” spokesman Matt Skinner said Saturday. “We’re trying to do this as quickly as possible, but we have to follow the recommendations of the seismologists, who tell us everything going off at once can cause an (earthquake).”
Skinner said the commission’s “area of interest” includes another 211 square miles in Osage County. However, he said the commission doesn’t know how many wells may be involved because the area is under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the commission is working with that agency.
“EPA decides on the wells in Osage County. We don’t know anything about Osage County, legally we’re not even allowed to ask,” Skinner said.
People in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago; Gilbert, Arizona; Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas; Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tennessee; and Big Lake in the southwest part of Texas, all reported feeling the earthquake. Dallas TV station WFAA tweeted that the quake shook its studios, too.
Pawnee County Emergency Management Director Mark Randell said no buildings collapsed in the town of 2,200 about 9 miles southeast of the epicenter. “We’ve got buildings cracked,” Randell said. “Most of it’s brick and mortar, old buildings from the early 1900s.”
Randell also said a man suffered a minor head injury when part of a fireplace fell on him as he protected a child. The man was treated and released.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County, allowing state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief and preparedness. The declaration is also the first step toward seeking federal aid should it be necessary.
The damage is not as severe as the 2011 quake near Prague, Oklahoma, about 60 miles south of Pawnee, despite being the same magnitude and approximately the same depth.
Saturday’s was 3.7 miles deep, compared to 3.1 miles in 2011. Both are shallow quakes, during which shaking is more intense, like setting off “a bomb directly under a city,” USGS seismologist Susan Hough has said.
However, hard bedrock beneath the surface in north-central Oklahoma is likely the reason for less damage, Oklahoma Geological Survey geophysicist Jefferson Chang said, adding that the subsurface around Prague is softer.
“It’s pretty much comparable to the Prague event,” Chang said. “But in harder rock, it won’t shake as much.”
Pawnee furniture store owner Lee Wills told The Associated Press that he first thought it was a thunderstorm.
“Then it just … Everything went crazy after that. It just started shaking,” said Wills, who lives about 2½ miles outside of town. “It rocked my house like a rubber band. Threw stuff off cabinets and out of cabinets, broke glasses.”
Associated Press writers Kelly P. Kissel in Little Rock, Arkansas, Erica Hunzinger in Chicago and Ben Thomas in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report. [Emphasis added]
Pawnee Diagnosing Damage After Earthquake by Marty Kasper, September 3, 2016, News9
PAWNEE, Oklahoma – The town of Pawnee is still diagnosing the damage after today’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake.
Most people in Pawnee first noticed the noise.
“Rumble rattle, things like that, and then it just got louder and more violent as time went on,” explained Pawnee resident Anna Davis.
Then pictures started falling off the wall at Davis’ home shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday morning as the 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook Oklahoma.
“I jumped out of bed, got into the door frame, and the ground beneath us was just rolling like a tidal wave beneath your feet,” said Davis.
Police say at least one man in Pawnee was taken to the hospital after getting hit in the head by falling bricks from his chimney while police say he was shielding a child. He has since been released from the hospital.
“We’ve heard report from folks of actually watching the ground wave come along,” said Oklahoma State geologist Todd Halihan.
Halihan and his team are out surveying the damage, searching for the epicenter.
“Pretty intense shaking, a lot of things fell off the shelves at the local super market,” stated Halihan.
They also found rock slides the closer they got to the epicenter, north of Pawnee.
Geologists were able to identify this area because of freshly knocked down grass as well as freshly over turned rocks.
Over at the Pawnee Bill Ranch and museum artifacts were knocked over, and cracks in the foundation and walls could been seen following the quake.
“Overall it could have been much, much worse,” said Davis. “We were very, very fortunate.”
A Security camera at the West Side Liquor store captured the earthquake as it shook the building. Around $400 of product was sent flying off the shelves and smashed on the ground.
Some buildings in downtown Pawnee are still taped off because of structural damage. Officials in the area are concerned that parts of some buildings could still come crashing down. [Emphasis added]
Pawnee Man Injured Protecting Child In Earthquake by Dee Duren, September 3, 2016, News9
Pawnee County Sheriff Mike Waters says a man in his 40s has been released from the hospital after being treated for a head injury. Sheriff Waters says the man was protecting his child in the record-tying earthquake in Pawnee. Bricks from a chimney fell on his head as he sheltered a child, Waters said.
The family lives on Highway 15 just outside town.
Waters confirmed the man was released from the hospital after receiving treatment, getting several staples in his head.
Downtown Pawnee sustained damage, especially White’s Foodliner grocery store. Pawnee Mayor Brad Sewell called the event “unprecedented.”
Sewell said the fire department and emergency management system was out looking for damage. The worst is to the historic downtown square.
An old sandstone building lot had some outer wall break off and fall on the sidewalk.
There was also a fire in a barn near town that was electric in origin, Sewell said. They aren’t positive if it was related to the earthquake. [Emphasis added]
Photo by J Barry Harrison III, Fairfax Oklahoma
Earthquake Causes Damage For Historic Pawnee Buildings by Tiffany Liou, September 3, 2016, News9
PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma – Near the epicenter of Saturday morning’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake, Pawnee, Oklahoma, residents felt a big shake up. Many residents said this is the largest earthquake they’ve felt in their city.
Shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, the earth shook and a building built in 1902 faced a lot of damage after the tremor. On 6th and Harrison, heavy sandstone fell from the second floor of the building.
“This one here is over 100 years old. I just hate to see it falling apart like that now,” said Tim Jim, a 19-year Pawnee resident.
Neighbors said it is the original sandstone that was shattered in pieces on the sidewalk.
Crews worked to clean it up quickly, but continued to rope off the area in case of aftershocks if more were to fall.
Abigail Brock, 16, has lived in Pawnee all her life. She said this is the first earthquake she has ever felt, as it jolted her out of bed.
“Just to see the picture of White’s Foodliner,” she said.
The only grocery store in town was scrambling to put items back on the shelf so they could open for the day.
Over in Pawnee Nation, executive director Andrew Knifechief said the President, on behalf of the Business Council, has declared a state of emergency for Pawnee Nation.
“It’s hard to see on the outside, but inside the buildings there is substantial damage. There are cracks along the walls, some beams,” Knifechief said.
Knifechief said they had to evacuate everyone out of the area, as the buildings were unstable to be in. They are still assessing the damage on these buildings that date back to the 1920s and 1930s.
He said these buildings were made to withstand Oklahoma weather, but not earthquakes.
“It’s just a shame that we might have to leave these spaces because of the damage,” he said. [Is the oil and gas industry going to rebuild the damaged buildings and homes, or will the enabling politicians and “regulators” blame nature and abandon the harmed citizens the way the Alberta/Canadian governments and “regulators” abandon the harmed in Canada?]
The Pawnee County Sheriff’s Department said one man was injured while he was trying to protect his child during the earthquake. A brick fell on him. He was sent to the hospital and is expected to be OK.
Gov. Mary Fallin later declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County due to the 5.6-magnitude earthquake. [Emphasis added]
5.6-Magnitude Pawnee Quake Causes Damage In OKC Metro by Grant Hermes, September 3, 2016, News9
OKLAHOMA CITY – More than 90 miles from the largest earthquake in Oklahoma history, residents of Oklahoma City are still shaken.
Gary Gates said he ran outside after he felt the earthquake. His home was fine, but his neighbors’ home off SW 60 Street was a different story. The exterior eastern wall had crumbled into the yard exposing insulation and sheetrock.
“It started rattling, and man, when I started looking around the first thing I did, I was looking at my house but I look over here and I see all this and I’m going like ‘oh my gosh. Like, wow, I can’t believe this,’ but here it is!” Gates said.
Reports and pictures of damage came in from as far south as Norman.
Up in Stillwater, Oklahoma State’s Boone Picken’s Stadium needed to be inspected for cracks before kickoff Saturday.
The epicenter of the earthquake was in Pawnee. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it registered as a magnitude of 5.6, matching the largest earthquake in state history which was recorded in 2011.
On the north side of Oklahoma City, firefighters had to remove the stacks off a crumbling chimney along NE 21 Street after bricks began raining down off a nearly 100-year-old house.
“It scared me and I hollered for my daughter and I’m still shaking,” Gloria Childs said.
Childs, an elderly woman, lives with her daughter. She uses a rolling walker to get around and was trying to stand up when the earthquake hit her home. She said it was so strong, it knocked her back into her chair.
Back on the south side, a plea for help with picking up the pieces of an historic quake.
“They just need a hand up you know it’d be great if some, if one viewer it would take, would help,” Gates said. [Emphasis added]
Tulsans Report Damage Miles From Earthquake Epicenter by Katiera Winfrey, September 3, 2016, News9
TULSA, Oklahoma – While some people are cleaning up in Pawnee, others in Tulsa are reporting seeing newly formed cracks and pictures falling off the wall.
Bill Dunning lives near the airport and initially thought the earthquake might have been a low flying jet.
It didn’t take him long to realize an earthquake was happening.
“The shaking and the up and down motion and the roaring that was just, I’ve never heard that before,” he said.
When the shaking finally stopped, in Tulsa 50 miles from the epicenter, Dunning found cracks scattered through the house and plenty more signs of a quake.
“All of these [posters] got moved,” said Dunning. “That was the whole thing even the pictures got moved.”
Dr. J Bryan Tapp is a geologist at the University of Tulsa. He says this type of earthquake causes the earth the slips side by side.
Tapp said, “The damage can be pretty severe cause imagine having a building on top of this and suddenly we shift the building is not built to withstand that kind of lateral acceleration.”
The 5.6 earthquake of 2011 is the closest to rival the most recent quake.
According to Tapp, “It is either at the same level l or one step higher.”
The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak said after a quake like this, you should check your home. First, if you have a chimney check it.
A break there can be one of the first indicators that you have damage.
“Walk around your home and check for large cracks. If you have a pool, I would check for those things. But again, take pictures document the damage,” Doak said.
Although he’s a bit shook, Dunning is happy the damage isn’t worse.
If you’re thinking about insurance, Doak said to keep in mind that after events like this companies may not sell earthquake insurance for 15 to 30 days. [Emphasis added]
Several Downtown Pawnee Buildings Damaged In Earthquake by Russell Hulstine, September 3, 2016, News9
PAWNEE, Oklahoma – Pawnee’s mayor says at least one downtown historic building sustained significant damage after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake Saturday morning.
Mayor Brad Seweol says the quake caused cracks and sandstone to fall from the building on the town’s square and a Pawnee grocery store saw a number of items fall off shelves.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports the quake struck at 7:02 a.m. about nine miles northwest of Pawnee. The U.S.G.S. also reports a 3.6 magnitude aftershock in the same area at 7:58 a.m. [See also swarm info below]
Seweol says they are now going to inspect the building to determine if they safe.
Authorities reported at least one injury from the earthquake. That injury happened just outside of Pawnee when a man protecting a child had bricks from a chimney fall on hit him on the head.
Governor Mary Fallin says the Pawnee Nation has six buildings that are uninhabitable at this time. And three homes in rural Pawnee County were damaged.
Governor Mary Fallin ✔ @GovMaryFallin
Assessments continue. Pawnee County Emergency Management, Pawnee Fire Department and @okem are en route to further assess damages.
12:18 PM – 3 Sep 2016
Fallin says the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has completed its first inspection of state highway and Oklahoma Turnpike bridges and has found very minor issues. [Emphasis added]
Pawnee Nation has declared a state of emergency by Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, September 3, 2016
This morning the tribe experienced a significant earthquake which triggered our nations emergency response. First off, I am happy to report that we have received no reports of injuries to any of our citizens. This is a great thing and we thank Atius for his mercies.
Second, the nations buildings have damage to such an extent that we will be closed until inspections can determine whether they are safe to occupy or not. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause or citizens but it is necessary for us to ensure the safety of our employees.
Finally, our emergency operations center is up and running. The staff has done an exemplary job at assessing the situation and will stay on call throughout the duration of this event. All inquires should be addressed through my office and the executive office.
Point of contact
Monty Matlock, Emergency Response Manager. 1-918-225-8848
Further information will be provided should the situation change, please check the website for current updates. Be safe and keep the citizens of the Pawnee Nation in your prayers.
W. Bruce Pratt, President
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma Quake Matches Record Even After Fracking Waste Restricted by David Wethe, September 3, 2016, Bloomberg
Oklahoma registered one of its biggest earthquakes Saturday even after state regulators have beefed up limits on disposing oilfield waste and the rate of tremors had started to slow somewhat from unprecedented levels last year.
The tremor in central Oklahoma was felt from Texas to Illinois, measuring 5.6 in magnitude and tying a state record set in 2011, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The number of earthquakes measuring 3.0 or higher reached 890 last year, followed by 375 this year through June 22. At that rate, the number of earthquakes would fall to less than 800 this year, still a far cry from only two in 2008.
As oil production surged in the state, with the Scoop and Stack areas among the most coveted new plays in the country, so too did the disposal of wastewater from fracked fields that scientists have tied to earthquake activity. Several producers, and now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are facing lawsuits because of seismic activity allegedly linked to oilfield wastewater disposal in Oklahoma and other states.
“Without studying the specifics of the wastewater injection and oil and gas production in this area, the USGS cannot currently conclude whether or not this particular earthquake was caused by industrial-related, human activities,” the agency said Saturday in a statement. “However, we do know that many earthquakes in Oklahoma have been triggered by wastewater fluid injection.”
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas activity in the state, has been issuing restrictions for more than a year aimed at cutting down on the amount of wastewater injected into underground wells. There are about 35,000 active wastewater disposal wells, though only a few dozen have been linked to quakes, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report in May, citing the USGS.
Saturday’s earthquake, near a complex of oil-storage facilities, led the regulator to order the suspension of about 37 wastewater-disposal wells. The commission was contacting the operators of the wells in a 500-square-mile area around the town of Pawnee, Governor Mary Fallin said in a Twitter post. Oil storage and pipeline facilities at Cushing, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Pawnee, were undamaged, according to the commission and four of the companies that operate there.
The quake was followed by at least eight others measuring as much as 3.6, according to the USGS.
Oklahoma, a region previously not known for intense seismic activity, began having a significant number of earthquakes in 2009, the same year area oil companies began using fracking to shatter deep rock layers to extract oil and gas. Fracked wells produce large quantities of wastewater, which drilling companies inject into ultra-deep disposal wells.
Saturday’s tremor hit the area about 7:02 a.m. Oklahoma time, the USGS said. It was also felt in Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, according to USGS’s reporting system for members of the public.
Officials for Enterprise Products Partners LP, Kinder Morgan Inc., Magellan Midstream Partners LP and Enbridge Inc., which operate petroleum terminals, pipelines and storage facilities in Cushing, said their sites sustained no damage and that operations were normal. Last week, the crude storage levels at Cushing stood at nearly 64 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration data.
“Following the earthquake, Enbridge employees were directed to conduct visual inspections of tanks, manifolds and other facilities,” spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said in an e-mail. “The Cushing terminal is currently operating normally.”
A spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Matt Skinner, offered similar comments.
Tremors were also felt at the Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, Nebraska, about 350 miles north of Pawnee, but operations were unaffected and no damage was reported, said Drew Niehaus, a spokesman based at the plant.
Oil and gas explorers that injected wastewater in the state include SandRidge Energy Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Range Resources Corp.
“Evidence linking oil and gas activity to earthquakes is mounting, along with legal and policy challenges,” Peter Pulikkan and Rob Barnett, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote last month in a report. [Emphasis added]
Oklahoma Orders Shutdown of Wells After Record-Tying Earthquake by Niraj Chokshi and Henry Fountain, September 3, 2016, The New York Times
Oklahoma officials on Saturday ordered oil and gas operators to shut down three dozen wastewater disposal wells following a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that tied a record as the strongest in state history.
The quake, centered near Pawnee, rattled the state just after 8 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, tying a record set in 2011 for the strongest such tremor in Oklahoma history, according to the National Weather Service.
Local officials reported moderate to severe damage and at least one nonlife-threatening injury.
“We are finding a lot of rural houses north, northwest of Pawnee that are seeing extensive damage,” Sheriff Mike Waters of Pawnee County said on Saturday.
Pawnee County Emergency Management posted photos on Facebook just before noon of a pile of rubble, noting that three buildings had moderate damage, while several others had minor damage.
Rocks and bricks fell from some businesses in town, and items fell off grocery store shelves, Sheriff Waters added.
Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County. She said on Twitter that crews inspecting bridges for damage found few in need of repair.
The United States Geological Survey recorded later earthquakes of magnitudes 3.6, 3.4 and 2.9. The first quake was felt as far away as Chicago and Austin, Tex.
Thousands of earthquakes have hit Oklahoma in recent years. Most have been imperceptible, but the number that can be felt — generally of magnitude 3.0 and higher — has risen significantly. Only three earthquakes of that size or stronger were recorded in 2009. Last year, the state had 907 such quakes. So far this year, there have been more than 400.
… The United States Geological Survey said in a statement that oil and gas activity had set off many earthquakes in the state, but that it could not yet say the practice caused Saturday’s quake.
“Without studying the specifics of the wastewater injection and oil and gas production in this area, the U.S.G.S. cannot currently conclude whether or not this particular earthquake was caused by industrial-related, human activities,” it said.
Oklahoma has thousands of wastewater disposal wells. Since mid-2015, the state has ordered operators of some to reduce the volume of wastewater injected, in the hope of reducing earthquakes.
The earthquake on Saturday was the largest in the state since a 5.6-magnitude quake struck near Prague, about 60 miles south of Pawnee, in November 2011. That quake injured two people and damaged more than a dozen homes and a college building.
A version of this article appears in print on September 4, 2016, on page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Oklahoma Orders Shutdown of Wastewater Wells After Record-Tying Earthquake. [Emphasis added]
13 swarm earthquake, including the 5.6M Pawnee, Oklahoma data by USGS, the two snaps below taken September 3, 2016:
VIDEO AT LINK: Gov. Fallin Declares State Of Emergency For Pawnee County After Quake by News9, Sep 03, 2016
“They’re coming to look at our dam to make sure it’s sound.”
Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled the state.
Saturday morning’s earthquake was felt in several states and was the strongest the state has experienced since November 2011 when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake happened in Lincoln County.
Fallin released the following statement:
“I’m glad to hear no one was seriously hurt in today’s earthquake and damage appears to be limited. This emergency declaration will start the process to helping individuals, families and businesses impacted by the earthquakes and serves as a precursor to requesting any necessary assistance.
“I appreciate the quick response by the Department of Emergency Management and Department of Transportation to assess damage of the affected area and to ensure our state highway and turnpike bridges are safe. And I applaud the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the state agency tasked with regulating the oil and gas industry, in taking swift action by ordering all disposal wells within a 725-square-mile area of today’s earthquake to shut down and working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in nearby Osage County.
“Information on the earthquake is still being collected, and will be reviewed by my coordinating council on seismic activity chaired by Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague, as we continue to move forward to make our state safe.”
Shortly after the earthquake, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management staff headed to the Pawnee area following. The quake was centered in Pawnee and residents there report damaged homes and businesses.
Staff have been assessing damages and assisting victims with their needs.
ODOT crews inspected 180 bridges and have deemed all bridges on the state highway and turnpike system to be safe for travel. It is ODOT’s policy to inspect state highway bridges after an earthquake of 4.7 magnitude or higher within a 30-mile radius of the epicenter.
[DOES THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY GET INVOICED FOR THESE MASSIVE PUBLIC SERVICE COSTS BECAUSE OF INDUSTRY’S GREED-INDUCED QUAKES?]
Minor, cosmetic damage were noted on two bridges but are also deemed safe and are open for travel.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said its seismicity team examined details from the quake and decided to contact Arbuckle disposal well operators to shut down wells in 725 square miles of the 5.6-magnitude earthquake.
A total of 37 wells under the commission’s jurisdiction will be affected.
Wells within five miles of the epicenter will shut down completely within seven days. Wells within 10 miles of the quake’s epicenter will shut down completely within 10 days, Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said.
The corporation commission is working with the Environmental Protection Agency in what should be done with the Osage County disposal wells. [Keep on fracing and injecting, as usual everywhere frac quakes are taking place? [Emphasis added]
USArray GMV for MB 5.6 OKLAHOMA click on visuals or link to left, then hit play button (see pink below for location)
5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Oklahoma by News9, September 03, 2016
OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Oklahoma – Residents across the state were rocked awake Saturday morning after an earthquake struck in Central Oklahoma. Around 7:00 a.m., a 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook and several residents and along with our staff began going to social media in response.
The earthquake’s epicenter was located eight miles northwest of Pawnee, 21 miles south, southeast of Ponca City, 22 miles north, northeast of Stillwater, 44 miles south Arkansas City, Kansas, and 73 miles north, northeast of Oklahoma City. It was about four miles deep.
USGS says the earthquake was felt in areas from Omaha to Dallas. News 9 has also received messages from residents in Missouri and Arkansas.
Residents have called in to report damages, but there are no injuries at this time. Fire officials say there are several reports of structural damage in downtown Pawnee.
USGS says an aftershock was recorded just before 8:00 a.m. in the same area as the major earthquake. [Emphasis added]
A few of the more than 330 comments:
William Beckman · Works at Retired
I live 801.7 miles from Pawnee. At 7:14 AM i was sitting at my computer when my monitor started to vibrate. There was nothing moviing in the area, so I assumed there was an earthquake or . . . somewhere.
This must be it.
Chas Jones · The Ohio State University
In Duncan, OK I was sitting on my couch and at 7:00 A.M. it was the oddest thing I have ever experienced. This was unlike any other earthquake I have felt. Very sideways in its effect. Felt like 2 incidents closely timed. I am glad I was sitting down.
Robert McCabe · Works at Retired
The weather guy and resident fraud on Fox News told all of us that the Quake was from Fracking in Oaklahoma,I kid you not.
Lisa Howard Glass · Columbia, Missouri
My brother is no liberal. But he lived in OK for a few years and he’s convinced that fracking caused the earthquakes. He’s a smart guy so it leads me to believe there’s something to it.
Sue Seals Branham · Works at Happily Retired
Fracking has been proven to cause earthquakes. For the past year many fracking locations have been shut down and earthquakes in those places have stopped.
Rita Scroggins · Tarrant County College
you don’t think that it is? really?
Christopher Fairchild · Warr Acres, Oklahoma
Please tell me this is a bad attempt at sarcasam..
Robert McCabe · Works at Retired
Lisa Howard Glass If he said that Fracking was not a cause would he lose his job?
Lisa Howard Glass · Columbia, Missouri
Robert McCabe No. He works at an insurance company. And he no longer lives in OK.
Charles Hogan · Central Piedmont Community College
The Epicenter of the Earthquake is located 1836 feet from a fracking operation.
I felt the 5.6 earthquake this morning at about 7am ct that was reported in Oklahoma, I am in central Iowa. I felt the shock of the quake and saw my desk and things move in my room. It is quite unnerving to feel such incredible energy and power yet not see anything making the energy. It felt like the world tipped side ways then back the other way it came from. The energy was like a wave, I could feel it go by and through me. My body felt a bit short circuited for about a hour craziness
Angela Lee · Pitman Executive Secretarial College
Property in Kansas as well as Oklahoma is being damaged by these manmade quakes. In my opinion not only is the Governor of Kansas worthless but so is your Governor who has done precious little to get this stopped and doesnt even bother to reply to emails or return phone calls to those of us impacted prior to this 5.6
Shook us awake in Hutchinson Kansas. Strongest we have ever felt
Tom Wyant · Wichita, Kansas
We are just NW of El Dorado, KS and actually heard it as the house was swaying west to east. Even after the shaking subsided the slight roar continued as it went east. Crazy stuff. Strongest one we’ve ever felt. Hope you all are OK in OK.
Felt it in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex. A local station said they felt it on the 5th floor of the building there are in. It was a “rolling” quake. I thought it might have been a bigger one on the New Madrid fault. Thank God that it wasn’t bigger and deadly….
Julio Y Marizol Garcia · Supervisor at EN EL RANCHO
I am in the OU Children’s Hospital in the 10th floor and everything was moving I was in shock that couldn’t move until the end I went to try to get my son.
On the 3rd floor at Duncan Regional Hospital it shook this building then stopped for a second then shook again for a second ! Very scary.
Debbie Davies Davis · The University of Oklahoma
Our son felt the quake in Duncan by the hospital.
Tracie Chartier · Yucca Valley High/Sky High School
USGS listing as a 5.6. Was awake and heard it before I felt it.
Mark Gilstrap · Research Lab Manager at Oklahoma State University
My nephew felt it in Kansas City. Very strong here in Owasso. The sound was teh really impressive part – after the first impact, a lot of loud rumbling w/o much motion… then strong shake shake shake long enough to wonder when it would stop – and strong enough we are alert for leaks in the gas line and water.
Ruth Sherwood · Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
Huge earthquake here in Midwest City. Shook for a long time. Big Boom, initially. [Emphasis added]
Oklahoma Corporation Commission Shuts Down Two Wells After This Week’s Earthquakes by Cole Poland, August 19, 2016, News9
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission announced plans to shut down two wastewater wells after this past week’s earthquakes near Luther and Wellston.
The OCC’s Oil and Gas Division’s plan covers wastewater wells that are disposing into the Arbuckle formation.
The two wells to be shut down are within three miles of the latest seismic activity. The shutdown of these wells must be completed by August 25. Additionally, 19 Arbuckle disposal wells within 10 miles of the latest seismicity will be further limited in volume.
The area experienced four earthquakes within the last week, the most recent being a 4.0 on Wednesday, August 17. Residents there say they are now dealing with property damage. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to: What a frac’ing cover-up!]
2016 09 02: New York signs law prohibiting fracking, and oil, natural gas waste in city; Alberta & other jurisdictions allow it dumped in landfills, on roads, leases, near communities and water ways (perhaps in them, who’s checking?). NORM increasing because of unconventional oil & gas, “has become a much more significant health, safety and environmental issue”
2016 08 22: EPA: Oil industry likely to blame for Texas tremors, even if state regulator continues to deny it. EPA alarmed at amount of earthquake activity in Dallas/Forth Worth area and “the public health hazard it could create”
2016 08 16: Known risk of earthquakes caused by oil and gas development, BC Hydro worries about fracking unconventionals near dams, specifically coalbed methane and shale gas. “Alberta Offers Lessons In Keeping Oil and Gas Industry ‘Safe’ From A Public Endangered By Fracking”
2016 07 28: “Minimal Damage?” Frac waste quakes in Oklahoma keep rising, 4.1M felt 801 km away. Press not reporting it. Authorities diddle & daudle instead of hiring replacement for seismologist Austin Holland. What are Oklahoma authorities afraid of? Studying tens of thousands of frac quakes no one has time for?
2016 06 28: “Minimal Damage?” Frac waste quakes in Oklahoma keep rising, 4.1M felt 801 km away. Press not reporting it. Authorities diddle & daudle instead of hiring replacement for seismologist Austin Holland. What are Oklahoma authorities afraid of? Studying tens of thousands of frac quakes no one has time for?
2016 06 16: The Most Horrific Frac Deregulation Yet? US EPA preparing for “widespread” radioactive frac waste contamination of drinking water or because it’s already happened? EPA’s proposed “protective regulation” to allow dramatically higher levels of radioactivity in drinking water
As regulators in Oklahoma scramble to figure out what caused a swarm of earthquakes outside an ‘area of interest’ targeting wastewater injection wells, one researcher said there is a possibility the temblors were caused by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations.
Insurers shun risk as oil-linked quakes soar in Oklahoma
As the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma exploded into the hundreds in the last few years, nearly a dozen insurance companies moved to limit their exposure, often at the expense of homeowners, a Reuters examination has found. [Are the guilty oil and gas companies and enabling politicians and regulator staff going to make right by the thousands of harmed home and business owners unable to get help from their insurers they’ve paid for years, if not decades?]
Nearly 3,000 pages of documents from the Oklahoma Insurance Commission reviewed by Reuters show that insurers and the reinsurers who cover them grew increasingly concerned about exposure to earthquake risks because of heightened frequency of seismic activity, which scientists link to disposal of saltwater that is a byproduct of oil and gas production.
Even as they insured more and more properties against earthquakes in the past two years, six insurers hiked premiums by as much as 260 percent and three increased deductibles. [That’re already uneconomically high for most families to benefit from]
Three companies stopped writing new earthquake insurance altogether, state regulatory filings obtained by Reuters show. Several insurers took more than one of those steps.
In addition, the insurers would consider suing oil and gas companies for reimbursement in instances where they would have to pay damages to homeowners, according to several sources, including two insurance company officials.
… For some insurers and reinsurers the risks have proven too big.
She says smaller earthquakes shouldn’t be ignored because they can lead to larger, more destructive ones.
“For every 100 magnitude three earthquakes, you’ll get 10 of magnitude four and one magnitude five,” she says. “The higher the rate of seismicity, the greater likelihood you’ll trigger at least one large event.”
He says that earthquakes caused by the oil and gas industry threaten not just homes and residential buildings, but critical infrastructure like the oil terminal at Cushing, which is the largest pipeline and oil storage facility in the United States.
“We started having earthquakes in the Cushing area,” Baker said, “so there is concern.”
Bloomberg Image enhanced showing where companies are intentionally fracturing in Canada.
The escalation prompted two unusual warnings jointly issued by the USGS and the OGS in October 2013 and May 2014. Seismologists stated that Oklahoma had a significantly increased chance of seeing a damaging magnitude 5.5 temblor. “It was the first time I think we’d ever issued an earthquake advisory east of the Rockies,” says Robert Williams, the USGS central and eastern U.S. coordinator for earthquake hazards. …
Even if Oklahoma shut down all its wells today, many experts say the quakes would continue. “We’re trying to calculate how much energy is in the system right now and how long it may continue on—and at the current earthquake rate the numbers are very big,” says Daniel McNamara, a seismologist at the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center in Golden, Colo.
Pressed for details, he paused. Then he added: “It’s hundreds of years.”
2016 02 13: 5.1 M: Oklahoma frac waste quakes rumbling bigger & bigger as USGS predicted. Children scurry under school desks, “and it was great,” say administrators. Quake related? Oklahoma City supermarket evacuated because of possible gas leak
2016 06 02: B.C. ‘enhances’ earthquake monitoring at oil & gas wells after last year’s 4.6M frac quake [ie not from waste injection but caused by fracing directly] last year largest on record in B.C.; 4.8 on day of Ernst vs AER hearing at Supreme Court of Canada largest in Alberta so far
2016 06 01: “Bad science can be dangerous.” What the frack? U of C School of Public Policy icing AER’s lying frac cake? Researcher says public wants scientific proof but researcher presents in closed-door session and ignores hundreds of damning published studies clearly showing frac harms
2016 04 07: AER allows Repsol to resume fracking after causing world record 4.8M frac quake [ie not from waste injection but caused by fracing directly] (felt 280 km away near Edmonton) in AER’s Fox Creek Blanket Approval Frac Frenzy Free-for-All Experiment. But, Repsol appears too shaken to resume
2016 03 29: New news or old? Frac’ing, not waste injection, causing earthquakes in Western Canada. Diana Daunheimer calls out U of Calgary’s David Eaton: “So why are you getting the details on this issue so very wrong Mr. Eaton?”
To many Oklahomans, it is clear that that risk has risen sharply. Data backs up their experiences. The earthquake rate in the state has grown at an astounding pace. In 2013 the state recorded 109 quakes of magnitude 3 and greater. The following year the number jumped to 585, and in 2015 it reached 890.
The escalation prompted two unusual warnings jointly issued by the USGS and the OGS in October 2013 and May 2014. Seismologists stated that Oklahoma had a significantly increased chance of seeing a damaging magnitude 5.5 temblor. “It was the first time I think we’d ever issued an earthquake advisory east of the Rockies,” says Robert Williams, the USGS central and eastern U.S. coordinator for earthquake hazards.
… Even if Oklahoma shut down all its wells today, many experts say the quakes would continue. ‘We’re trying to calculate how much energy is in the system right now and how long it may continue on—and at the current earthquake rate the numbers are very big,’ says Daniel McNamara, a seismologist at the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center in Golden, Colo.
Pressed for details, he paused. Then he added: “It’s hundreds of years.”
2016 03 16: Frac Waste Quakes Make Time Magazine: The U.S.’s New Earthquake Capital: Oklahoma. “Some seismologists say that even if all disposal activity stopped in the state immediately, there could be earthquakes for decades.”
2016 02 05: 5.1 M: Oklahoma frac waste quakes rumbling bigger & bigger as USGS predicted. Children scurry under school desks, “and it was great,” say administrators. Quake related? Oklahoma City supermarket evacuated because of possible gas leak
2016 02 05: First research links Californian quakes to oil operations. Is that why it took so many decades for such research to be done?
2016 01 24: Listen To The Quakes & The Many, Not The Money. 2013: “These fluids are driving faults to their tipping point.” Is this what frac’d communities have to look forward to? 2016: 7.1M earthquake
2016 01 16: Frac Hell in Oklahoma: Endless quakes. “There’s no lack of conversation. There’s a lack of action.” Plumber blamed for gas leak in elementary school. Company says boiling oilfield waste alternative to injection wells, breathable air be damned
2016 01 12 Ernst vs AER Supreme Court of Canada hearing followed by 4.8M quake in AER’s Immoral Blanket Approval Frac Experiment Gone Wild, felt 280km awa
2016 01 05: NINE STUDIES: US Geological Survey (USGS), University Colorado (UC), Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) studied sudden man-made earthquakes in Oklahoma, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, found fracing is the causation
2016 01 05: The frac quakes go on & on & on: Oklahoma again orders oil & gas drillers to reduce amount of frac waste water injected. Why? The natural gas leak & home explosion in Oklahoma City? Where will the frac waste go?
Click image to access video
“Looked like a bomb had been dropped on it,” Brown said.
2015 12 09: Former Oklahoma state seismologist Austin Holland confirmed industry pressure and conflicts of interest by state officials handling swarms of frac waste quakes shaking & damaging the state
2015 11 12: More lies & frac fraud? Why did AER’s Darin Barter (now NEB) suggest trucks to blame for citizens feeling frac quakes at Cardson? Why not tell the truth? Why are regulators and “experts” so loath to publicly disclose fracing’s many public safety risks?
“It’s pretty unlikely these events would have been felt at the surface,” said Barter. “If anything, it would have been close to a rumble under your feet, like a truck driving by.”
2015 02 20: Quakes in Gas Fields Ignored for Years, Dutch Safety Agency’s report a relevant read for any fracking zone; Fox Creek frac quakes make AER play deregulation with you and your loved ones: “Red Light = Green Light”
2015 02 02: Fracking Quakes Pose Added Risks but Oil and Gas Companies Refuse to Share their Collected Seismic Data. “In low seismic environments like Fox Creek where the natural earthquakes are infrequent, the hazards from an induced seismic event can exceed the hazards from a natural source”
2015 01 09: New BC OGC Report: From August 2013 to October 2014 Fracking directly caused 193 earthquakes (11 felt on surface), 38 more caused by waste injection, in Montney basin area surrounding Dawson Creek and Ft St John
The Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) has now documented a temporal connection between hydraulic fracturing injection stages and nearby felt earthquakes, although more research is needed to explain the location of the quakes, some more than 5 km from the well. What’s more, OGS seismologist, Austin Holland recently reported there is growing data suggesting that as many as 2 percent of hydraulically fractured wells in Oklahoma may induce felt seismic events.
“The papers in the science community do reference hydraulic fracturing as a possible cause [of earthquakes],” AER spokesman Bob Willard told CBC News.
The province says it’s important to remember the disposal wells are regulated…. [How are regulations helping the thousands of people harmed by earthquakes?]
2014 07 05: New Cornell Study: Because of fracing, Oklahoma now has three times more earthquakes than California; Number of potentially damaging earthquakes – magnitude 3.0 or larger – up more than 120 percent
While past research has shown more quakes in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas and correlated it statistically to injection wells, this study used computer simulations to identify the mechanism of how massive amounts of water travel as much as 32 kilometres from the well. The pressure then triggers existing small faults — or previously unknown ones. In the past, scientists thought wells could only jump-start quakes within five kilometres) or so.
2014 04 17: International panel of geoscientists concluded pair of deadly earthquakes that struck Italian region of Emilia-Romagna in 2012 could have been triggered by petroleum extraction
WAS THE 2016 DEADLY QUAKE IN ITALY RELATED TO PETROLEUM EXTRACTION ALSO, OR TO THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY CAUSED QUAKES IN NORTH AMERICA?
HOW MANY LIVES DOES THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY DESTROY EVERY DAY?
HOW MANY $BILLIONS (TRILLIONS) IN DAMAGES DOES THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY CAUSE ANNUALLY? HOW MANY OF THOSE ARE IRREPARABLE ON TOP OF THE FINANCIAL LOSSES? EG HOW DO YOU UNFRAC DRINKING WATER AQUIFERS?
Alberta has nearly 2,000 injection well sites and Oklahoma, which experienced a record 2,600 quakes last year, is home to 5,000 injection sites. As of 2007, B.C. employed more than 100 wastewater wells in its gas fields.
Many of continent’s more than 680,000 injection and disposal wells have sprung leaks or have fractured into aquifers.”
2014 02: Satellite data sound alarm on safety of high pressure injection; data shows significant ground deformation (subsidence and uplift) in area of CNRL leak, 10 times faster than lower-pressure injection
2013 07 08: Earthquakes from onshore gas drilling threaten a disaster, warn residents of Dutch city, Residents of Groningen are up in arms over onshore gas drilling that triggered earthquakes, damaging homes and sending property prices crashing
Large earthquakes around the world have been found to trigger tremors at US sites where wastewater from gas drilling operations is injected into the ground, a US study said Thursday. For instance, the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan in 2011 set off a swarm of earthquakes in the western Texas town of Snyder near the Cogdell oil field, culminating in a 4.5 magnitude quake there about six months later, said the research in the journal Science.
Similarly, small to mid-sized quakes were observed near active injection wells in Prague, Oklahoma following an 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile in 2010. Uncommon seismic activity stirred that region 16 hours after the Chile quake with a 4.1 magnitude tremor, and it continued until a 5.7 magnitude quake in November 2011, said researchers at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The 2010 Chile quake also led to heightened seismic activity in Trinidad, Colorado, including a 5.3 magnitude quake in August 2011, in an area where methane is extracted from the coal bed and wastewater is reinjected into the Earth. …
The study helps explain a surge in earthquakes in the central United States, which in recent years has seen a more than six-fold increase in earthquakes over 20th century levels.
An accompanying study in Science said there were 300 3.0-magnitude or higher earthquakes in the central United States from 2010 to 2012, after an average of 21 such quakes per year from 1967 to 2000. The change coincides with a growing natural gas boom that is based on using large amounts of fluids to crack open rocks for natural gas, known as hydro-fracturing or fracking.
… The US Department of the Interior last year also acknowledged an uptick in seismic activity — predominantly in Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Ohio — where disposal of wastewater through injection wells has “increased significantly,” it said. One of the earliest known cases of wastewater inducing earthquakes dates back to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Well near Denver, Colorado, where large amounts of wastewater were injected from 1962 to 1966, leading to a series of earthquakes below magnitude 5.0, the DOI said. …
“These passing seismic waves are like a stress test,” said co-author Heather Savage, a physicist at Lamont-Doherty. “If the number of small earthquakes increases, it could indicate that faults are becoming critically stressed and might soon host a larger earthquake.” The largest so far has been the 5.7 magnitude quake on November 6, 2011 in Prague, Oklahoma, triggered by the Chilean quake a year earlier. The US quakes have been felt by many people but have caused minimal damage and no deaths, though researchers point out that elsewhere in the world, similarly strong quakes have resulted in massive damage and loss of life.
Scientists have no way of predicting when a particular field has reached a dangerous point….
In an accompanying article in Science, William Ellsworth of the US Geological Survey framed the problem another way. “Ignorance of the things that we understand we should know but do not leaves us vulnerable to unintended consequences of our actions,” Ellsworth said. [Emphasis added]
ARE THE GREED INDUCED INJECTIONS IN OKLAHOMA RELATED TO THE RECENT DEADLY EARTHQUAKE IN ITALY?
An investigation is underway in Spain as to the cause of hundreds of recent earthquakes in the Cataluña region in Spain. The energy minister says “It appears that there is a relationship between gas injection and earthquakes”. Jose Manuel Soria, the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism said that it appears that there is a direct relationship between the injection of gas into the underground Castor warehouse and earthquakes.
Well integrity could potentially be affected by seismic activity – either activity induced by the hydraulic fracturing process, or other seismic events. … As reported by Broderick et al (2011 NPR), one study indicated a maximum induced magnitude of around 3, for that location, which was considered insufficient to cause surface structural damage but to potentially damage the wellbore itself. [Emphasis added]
2012; Spanish earthquake in Lorca ‘triggered by groundwater extraction’, A major earthquake in Spain that killed nine people and destroyed hundreds of homes was triggered by groundwater extraction, a scientific study has found
Hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and gas has become closely associated in the public mind with the risk of triggering man-made earthquakes. But the risk is not high…. Those are the findings of an authoritative study on the risk of man-made (“induced”) seismicity carried out by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences at the request of Congress (“Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies” 2012).
Fracking fears appeared to be justified after a British government enquiry held the technology responsible for a series of tremors in April and May 2011 at Preese Hall near Blackpool, the largest of which had a magnitude of 2.3 on the Richter scale, big enough to be felt by local residents.
Fracking has also been linked to a “swarm” of 50 small earthquakes in Oklahoma on Jan 18, 2011, ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 2.8, which occurred at the same time as the fracking of a well in the Eola Oil Field.
But these are the only two confirmed cases where induced seismic activity has been linked to fracking.[Emphasis added]
Fears only ‘theoretical’ says Energy Resource Conservation Board [now AER] member
“The concern is that when we are fracking the rock that it will crack right up and release hydrocarbon into the surface water, and that’s the water people use for irrigation and for drinking, ” said Annelise Freeman, a senior geologist at PetroFrontier. But what are the chances of that actually happening? “It’s not going to happen,” maintained Freeman. …
In terms of the chemicals being injected into the ground, Brad McManus, vice chair of the Energy Resource Conservation Board in Alberta, said that plans are currently being made to provide the public with more transparency of the chemicals being used. “People are concerned about that and there are initiatives to provide more transparency on what are the chemicals being pumped down there,” he said. “There is some proprietary interest; people develop the components that they think work best and so they are reluctant to share that, not because they’re trying to hide any adverse consequence, but they are trying to keep their proprietary advantage.” Freeman said, “The chemicals injected into the ground are no worse than using fertilizer...or by cleaning your coffee machine with CLR.”
… “I don’t think there have been any incidents in Alberta where fracking has adversely affected a water table, or adversely impacted people’s wells,” McManus said. “In Alberta you’re only allowed to frack so close to a well or a water table. In other jurisdictions, the formations might not be as deep so you could be running more risk of fracking closer to a water table,” McManus explained. “There’s obviously been incidents that concern people, but it’s a theoretical fear. They read about them and hear about problems in other jurisdictions and think this could happen or that could happen. It’s fairly easy to get people concerned when you tell them what could happen.” [Patronize much Mr. McManus?]
….PetroFrontier’s Freeman said, “There were already a lot of pre-existing faults that have been there since mountain building time. Injecting water can cause problems within the fault lanes. It is definitely a possibility. I don’t know if there can be sustained earthquakes though, once you stop the fracking the earthquakes would stop. In Alberta this problem wouldn’t exist because we don’t have those slide planes.” [HOW WRONG SHE TURNED OUT TO BE. OR WAS SHE KNOWINGLY MISLEADING THE PUBLIC?]
Hydraulic fracturing has been a technique used in Alberta since the 1950s and is widely used to extract hydrocarbon from shale rock formations and tight gas formations. As far as McManus, who has worked for the ERCB for 15 years knows, there have been no known incidents of surface water being adversely affected in Alberta, and certainly none that have caused any earthquakes. “There’s still a considerable amount of concern and its very understandable. I think when people realize the kind of regulatory framework we have and the restrictions that we have and the protections in place that they would feel a lot better,” [Try telling that to the many thousands with frac and waste injection quake damages, and contaminated water!] McManus said. [Emphasis added]
2012 09 20: Waste injection wells: The Earth’s invisible dump, With more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic waste having been injected into the inner earth, what happens if our belief that what goes down can’t come up is wrong?
2012 05 20: The Geological Society, The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain Submission to DECC Consultation: Preece Hall Shale Gas Fracturing – Review & Recommendations for Induced Seismic Mitigation
2011 02: Fracking and Quaking: They’re Linked And scientists, the military, and frackers themselves have known it for years
A series of temblors near Greenbrier in central Arkansas, including one Thursday evening, were more likely caused by gas and oil drilling than an active fault, geologists said Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake measuring 1.6 in magnitude about 5 miles northwest of Greenbrier at 5:01 p.m. Thursday. There were no reports of damage. Several other quakes hit the area over the past several months, said Haydar Al-Shukri, director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Because the earthquakes have occurred infrequently, Al-Shukri believes they are caused by workers drilling for oil and gas in Faulkner County. He expects more, minor ones to rattle the area as drilling continues.
“If it were a fault zone, we’d see constant activity,” Al-Shukri said. “These are occurring sporadically in areas close to drilling and injecting.” He said drilling and injecting the holes with fluid create pressure underground and cause shifting of tectonic plates. An area about 8 miles east of Hector in Pope County also has seen an increase in rumblings, he said. The U.S. Geological Survey reported seven quakes measuring 1.8 in magnitude or greater in the past three weeks. The epicenters of the quakes were at different depths – another indication that they are not fault-based and instead are caused by the drilling, Al-Shukri said.
“When someone extracts oil or injects a lot of fluid into the subsurface, it causes a tip in the balance,” he said. “These quakes are the result of that imbalance.”
Al-Shukri doesn’t expect the earthquakes to be greater than 3.5 in magnitude. Quakes measuring 4.0 in magnitude can cause minor structural damage.
“We don’t anticipate any problems,” he said. “They are small and most are happening in the middle of nowhere where the drilling is going on.” [Emphasis added]
Some seismologists believe the coalbed methane drilling on Vermejo Park could be the cause of occasional earthquakes that shake the mineral-rich Ratón Basin — a theory the gas industry vehemently disputes. [Emphasis added]
Many quakes in the region have been clustered around coalbed methane development, said Alan Sanford, New Mexico Tech emeritus professor of seismology. …“It is my understanding that they are injecting fluids into the ground which can generate earthquakes,” Aster said. Coalbed methane drilling on the Vermejo Park Ranch involves fracturing an underground coal seam to allow methane to escape to the surface. …
“CBM development is like playing Russian roulette,”
The gas field was discovered in 1956 and production began in 1962. Over the next 14 years, roughly 600×106 m3 of water, or 106 ton per km2, were injected. … Beginning in 1976, a series of large earthquakes was recorded. The first significant earthquake occurred on April 8, 1976 at a distance of 20 km [12 miles] from the Gazli gasfield boundary. The earthquake magnitude measured 6.8. Just 39 days later, on May 17, 1976, another severe earthquake occurred 27 km [17 miles] to the west of the first one. The magnitude of the second earthquake was 7.3. Eight years later, on March 20, 1984, a third earthquake occurred 15 km [9 miles] to the west of the second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.2. … Aftershocks occurred in a volume surrounding the three hypocentres. These earthquakes are the strongest of all the known earthquakes in the plain of Central Asia. … The amassed data indicate that the Gazli earthquakes were triggered by the exploitation of the gas field.
In regions of high tectonic potential energy, hydrocarbon production can cause severe increases in seismic activity and trigger strong earthquakes, as in Gazli, Uzbekistan. In regions of lower tectonic stress, earthquakes of that magnitude are less likely, but relatively weak earthquakes could occur and damage surface structures.[Emphasis added]