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Thursday, January 15, 2015 | Category:

NPR Story 11:23 AM WED JANUARY 14, 2015

JOE WERTZ

A panel of state geological surveys and oil and gas regulators at the National Seismic Hazard Workshop on Induced Seismicity, held in November at a conference center in Midwest City, Okla.

Oklahoma experienced more earthquakes than California in 2014, but the rate and severity of the shaking “has held relatively flat over the past 12 months,” The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.

“It looks like we’re at about the same rate now as we were last year at this point,” Oklahoma Geological Society seismologist Austin Holland said. “We’re continuing to see a high rate, but it looks like a steady rate at this point.”

Several peer-reviewed scientific papers have linked some quakes in Oklahoma and other states to disposal wells the energy industry pumps full of wastewater and other fluid byproducts of drilling and oil and gas production. Hydraulic fracturing, so-called fracking, has also been shown to trigger earthquakes.

One recent paper, published this month in the “Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America,” concludes that a string of small earthquakes recorded in March 2014 near Poland Township, Ohio, were likely induced by fracking.

Officials are pleased that the pace of Oklahoma’s quakes seems to have plateaued, Wilmoth reports, but homeowners are being precautious.

About 15 percent of Oklahomans now have earthquake insurance, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said. The number is up from about 2 percent in 2011 and outpaces California, where about 10 percent of residents have earthquake insurance.

 



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