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7 small earthquakes shake central Oklahoma, USGS says

Oklahoma's Seven-Quake Weekend Raises Fracking Concerns
GUTHRIE, Okla. (AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded seven small earthquakes shaking central Oklahoma in a span of about 14 hours.

The temblors are part of an increase in earthquakes across Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas that some scientists say could be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, and especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.

Sunday's quakes ranged from magnitude 2.6 to 2.9 and were centered in the Guthrie, Jones and Langston areas, 15 miles to 30 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. The USGS said the quakes were recorded between 7:57 p.m. Saturday and 9:51 a.m. Sunday. No injuries or damage were reported.

Those follow four other quakes, including a 4.3-magnitude temblor near Langston recorded shortly after noon Saturday. The other Saturday morning quakes ranged in magnitude from 2.9 to 3.2.

Seismologists know that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking - which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals deep into underground rock formations to free oil and gas - can cause microquakes that are rarely strong enough to register on monitoring equipment.

However, fracking also generates vast amounts of wastewater, which is pumped into injection wells thousands of feet underground. Scientists wonder whether they could trigger quakes by increasing underground pressures and lubricating faults. Another concern is whether injection well operators could be pumping either too much water into the ground or pumping it at exceedingly high pressures.

Hundreds of central Oklahoma residents met with regulators and research geologists last month in Edmond, and many urged regulators to ban or severely restrict the disposal wells.

Austin Holland, a research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, said at the time that the state is experiencing unprecedented earthquake activity and his agency is closely monitoring it to determine whether the earthquakes are a natural phenomenon or are man-made.

Holland also said the same drilling methods have been used in the state for years but that frequent earthquakes did not become a problem until after 2009.

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ljinkc40 Tuesday at 12:38 AM

God is trying to tell you Okies something....maybe you should listen for a change???

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Handsome Tuesday at 4:01 AM

As a person who resides in California, I have often been told by many people from the midwest that earthquakes that have occurred here were acts of God, to punish us for the porn industry. So whats going on in Oklahoma?

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lamsantosantos Tuesday at 6:27 AM

It will continue to be ignored as long as the politicians are getting profit shares!

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rjen164497 Tuesday at 6:38 AM

YOUR GOING TO DRINK THE KOOL-AID ON THIS? The sky is falling. It may be more logical that too many people flushed their toilets at the same time. Drink up Libs you like to be controlled and told what to do.

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gococksri rjen164497 Tuesday at 4:55 PM

You're right, it couldn't be tracking that is causing seismic activity in Oklahoma that's unprecedented. Forget what the science says, the Koch Brothers say that seismic activity goes in cycles---like global warming does. And Okies are dumb enough to believe the Koch Brothers over science because, well, science has an agenda and the Koch Brothers don't! #DUMBASS

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