November 10, 2015

Oklahoma number one earthquake area in world

Enid News & Eagle - Oklahoma is now the No. 1 earthquake area in the world, an Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman said.

Spokesman Matt Skinner said the state is unique in terms of frequency.

"We have had 15 (earthquakes) in Medford since 5 o'clock Saturday morning," he noted. "We've got an earthquake issue."

"This is an Oklahoma issue that is an earthquake issue. It is nothing more and it's nothing less," Skinner said. "For us, it's an oil and gas issue as well, because that's what we have jurisdiction over that the seismologists say pertains to earthquakes."

OCC cannot correlate a given seismic event to a given disposal well. When wells are shut down by OCC, it's because the wells fit a risk profile, Skinner said.

OCC has developed areas of interest, where earthquake clusters have occurred. A cluster is two earthquakes within a half mile of each other, with one measuring at least magnitude 3.2. Originally, they were three-mile circles, then six-mile circles. The circles grew in number and now encompass a very large area of Oklahoma — about 9,000 square miles in all, he said.

There is concern about water being injected into the basement rock, Skinner said.

"It's overwhelming data over 40 years, 50 years, that that behavior is not something you want to do in a seismically active state," he said.

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