Monday, November 07, 2011

(not about Herman Cain)

Over the weekend, in case you missed it, Oklahoma had the worst earthquake ever recorded in the state:

SPARKS, Okla., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Aftershocks struck a jittery Oklahoma Sunday following a weekend of quakes, officials said.

The quakes included the largest in state history Saturday night, with a magnitude of 5.6, the Los Angeles Times reported....

Any chance that the extraction of natural gas by means of hydraulic fracturing -- "fracking" -- could be involved? Well, you tell me:

As of Sunday night, 23 earthquakes have been recorded in central Oklahoma in the last 24 hours. The biggest quake in the latest seismic flurry, the 5.6-magnitude earthquake centered near Sparks, Oklahoma on Saturday night, could be felt as far north as Illinois and Wisconsin.

While most people don't consider Oklahoma to be a hotbed of seismic activity, geological activity in Oklahoma has increased in recent years where earthquakes are occurring with greater frequency and intensity.

According to the Associated Press:
Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year until 2009. Then the number spiked, and 1,047 quakes shook the state last year, prompting researchers to install seismographs in the area.

Just last week, before this record quake, there was this:

A previously unreported study out of the Oklahoma Geological Survey has found that hydraulic fracturing may have triggered a swarm of small earthquakes earlier this year in Oklahoma. The quakes, which struck on Jan. 18 in a rural area near Elmore City, peaked at magnitude 2.8....

And before that, there was this:

Two earthquake tremors in north-west England earlier this year were probably caused by controversial operations to extract gas nearby, a report by the company responsible has concluded.

The two tremors - magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 - which were felt by people just outside Blackpool, but did not cause any known damage, were reported in April and May. Since the second event, Cuadrilla Resources has stopped "fracking" operations – where water and chemicals are injected into rocks at high pressure to extract gas from the cracks....

I should note that a scientist from the Oklahoma Geological Survey doesn't buy this:

Saturday night’s magnitude 5.6 earthquake near Sparks, Oklahoma has some wondering whether hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is to blame.

Dr. Kenneth Luza is an Engineering Geologist with Oklahoma Geological Survey.

The answer is no according to Dr. Luza, "It doesn't look like it. The earthquake was somewhere between 3 and 4 miles below the surface. It was too deep."

But is it crazy to wonder if that's really the last word on the subject? Even if continued skepticism annoys David Brooks?


c u n d gulag said...

I remember reading an article about this in the late 70's.
There was an increase in earthquakes in Colorado, and guess what they found caused it?
They were injecting water into the mountain ranges to get more of the minerals out.

Move along.
Nothing to see here...

BH said...

Anything that annoys Brooks is worthwhile by definition.