Rise in Earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma regions

January 19, 2015


Earthquakes becoming more prominent in the Midwest. 


Recent seismic activity in the United States has raised a few questions. More specifically near Texas and Oklahoma.  Is there a relation between the recent spike in earthquakes in this part of the world and human activity? Many questions have arose about whether or not the oil and gas industry activity has any connection to these recent earthquake spikes.


According to the U.S. geological survey record, within the past 30 days, Oklahoma has recorded 152 earthquakes with at least a magnitude of 2.5 on the Richter scale. Also according to Earthquake Track, there have been 28 earthquakes in Texas in the past 30 days, 22 off these earthquakes have been in Irving, Texas with a magnitude of 1.5 or greater.


Historically speaking, earthquakes in these areas have been rare. Scientists know very little on the cause of these earthquakes in an area such as this, since it is not a seismic hot spot. The U.S. geological survey will likely upgrade North Texas' risk level, due to all the recent activity. 


The term, Hydraulic Fracturing, has been thrown around with conjunction to the rise in earthquakes in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a process that injects water, chemicals and sand under high pressure into a well. This process cracks the rock to release natural gas and oil. The possible link with the increase in earthquakes comes from the disposal of this drilling waste, not the drilling process. The disposal of the wastewater that comes back up the well, is done so by injecting it into disposal wells deep underground encased in layers of concrete. The water being pumped into the ground minimizes the friction of the faults, allowing the fault to slip, causing an earthquake. 


Direct links to the rise in earthquakes and human direct involvement is under scrutiny. Scientists are still trying to develop better knowledge of earthquakes in these areas of the United States. Research is currently underway to find a cause and possible solution to stop to the rise in earthquakes.  


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