The map above shows the location and frequency of earthquakes in the United States from 2010 until early 2016. During that time: “Oklahoma has gone from averaging 2 earthquakes a year to averaging nearly 3 earthquakes a day! (See the rectangle above)
The reason is wastewater disposal, which is a vital part of oil and gas extraction. It induces low-level earthquakes and Oklahoma is a centre for such activity. And as a result, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded 850 earthquakes measuring 3.0 or greater in the state in 2015.
However, it’s important to note the difference between inducing and causing earthquakes. As of 2012 there had only been 3 confirmed cases of hydraulic fracturing causing earthquakes.
What the wastewater disposal process does is that it makes earthquakes happen more frequently in areas where earthquakes are already more likely to occur. You can learn more about this from Max Galka’s original post: Setting the Record Straight on Fracking and Earthquakes.
You can also learn more about fracking from the following books:
- The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World
- The Green and the Black: The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight over Fracking, and the Future of Energy
- The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters
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