Tag Archives: earthquakes

Wastewater Injection Caused Oklahoma Earthquakes

Scientific American, 3 July, 2014.

A new study attributes the recent surge of quakes in central Oklahoma to the injection of wastewater at a handful of high-rate wells across the state.

More than 230 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 3.0 have shaken the state of Oklahoma already this year. Before 2008 the state averaged one such quake a year. The surge in seismic activity has left residents and experts alike wondering about the underlying cause.

A study published today in Science explains how wastewater injection sites—areas where toxic water left over from oil drilling and fracking processes is injected into the ground between impermeable layers of rocks to avoid polluting freshwater—could be driving the sharp increase in the sometimes-disastrous earthquake events. “It really is unprecedented to have this many earthquakes over a broad region like this,” says study co-author Geoffrey Abers of Cornell University. “Most big sequences of earthquakes that we see are either a main shock and a lot of aftershocks or it might be right at the middle of a volcano in a volcanic system or geothermal system. So you might see little swarms but nothing really this distributed and this persistent.”

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Japan’s tsunami towns go green to create jobs, bypass nuclear

Business Feature 16 July 2012.

Rikuzentakata, like many towns on Japan’s rugged north-east Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1 700 of its 24 000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings…

Sixteen months later, the town is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says will reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-ageing population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness to China and South Korea and reliance on imported fossil fuels…


Drillers cause quakes (USA)

Business Report 19 April 2012.

The number of earthquakes in the central US has risen “spectacularly” near where oil and gas drillers disposed of wastewater underground, a process that may have caused geologic faults to slip, US government geologists report.

The average number of earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater on the Richter scale, increased to six times the 20th century average in the US midcontinent last year, scientists at the US Geological Survey said in an abstract. – Reuters