Despite Tighter Restrictions, Earthquakes Still Rattle Oklahoma and Kansas

Geological experts in Kansas say the earthquakes that have been rattling the state in the past week to 10 days were likely caused by wastewater injections in both states…not just Oklahoma.

In other words, they were caused by humans, not nature.

The Wichita Eagle interviewed Justin Rubinstein, deputy chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Induced Seismicity Project.

“This is not particularly surprising–we’re not surprised by this,” he said.

And Rick Miller, a senior scientists for the Kansas Geological Survey agreed.

“There’s no way to be absolutely confident, but there’s no question that it’s very likely that the injection of water has been a catalyst in the increase of earthquakes over the last 4-5 years,” he added.

However, despite the stronger restrictions adopted by regulators in Oklahoma and Kansas, he feels the earthquakes would continue for years even if the injections were to stop today.

“Even if you stopped all injection immediately, earthquakes will persist — probably for years,” he said. “Just because you stop it, it doesn’t mean you change the conditions.”

But Rubinstein thinks the moves by the regulators in both states are working.

“In general, the earthquake rate has been going down, so larger earthquakes are likely going down with it, but I wouldn’t say the possibility (for larger quakes) isn’t there,” Rubinstein said.

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