Earthquake Plans to be Announced by State in Response to Edmond Quakes

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission says it will make known Monday its plans on dealing with the recent surge in strong earthquakes around Edmond. In response to a 4.3 magnitude quake early in the week followed by a New Year’s Day 4.2 magnitude quake the commission said it will make known its actions at the start of the week.

“The issue is extremely complex, as the initial review of the data for the area in question has not identified any oil and gas wastewater disposal wells that are both high volume and in the state’s deepest formation, a combination that researchers have identified as being at the highest risk for inducing earthquakes,” said the Commission.

A seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey has indicated the wells apparently have reactivated a fault that runs between Midwest City and Edmond. Dan McNamara told News 9 in Oklahoma City the fault actually runs from the Midwest Boulevard and Covell area toward downtown Oklahoma City. He believes bigger and stronger earthquakes are coming.

“When we see these magnitude 4’s we get concerned that additional earthquakes will occur,” he said in an interview with News 9’s Dana Hertneky. He explained that historically, once a fault is activated in Oklahoma, it can produce multiple magnitude 4.0 earthquakes or larger because of the type of fault that runs through the state.

“They have been shown to produce up to mag 5.6 and in a few studies we have done at USGS, we have shown that some of these faults could host earthquakes as big as Mag 6,” said McNamara.

It is likely that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission might further reduce operations of some of the injection wells in the region. It has taken similar action throughout the state where stronger earthquakes occurred.

Some researchers and regulators believe the injection wells are causing the earthquakes. However, others contend there is no scientific evidence of such a correlation. It prompted SandRidge Energy in December to challenge an OCC order to reduce operations of its wells near Cherokee and closer to the state line with Kansas.


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