Study Shows Oil and Gas Related Earthquakes Go Back Decades
A new study indicates that most of the large earthquakes in Oklahoma over the past century were likely caused by underground injection of drilling waste water.
The paper by researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey will be published in December's Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
It suggests the entire uptick in earthquakes since 2009 in the central and eastern United States is primarily caused by human activity - namely, the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells.
For years, oil industry representatives, state seismologists, lawmakers and public officials have all pointed to the earthquakes in the 1950's as evidence of the states history of strong naturally occuring temblors. The researchers found naturally occuring quakes in Oklahoma are instead concentrated in the southeastern part of the state near what is known as the Quachita structural belt.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's oil and gas division said it issued a plan under which disposal wells within 3 miles of the center of recent earthquake activity near the town of Cushing are ceasing operations.