Wastewater Injection Triggered Oklahoma’s Earthquake Cascade

Pic: USGS (PD)

Pic: USGS (PD)

Becky Oskin writes at LiveScience:

One of Oklahoma’s biggest man-made earthquakes, caused by fracking-linked wastewater injection, triggered an earthquake cascade that led to the damaging magnitude-5.7 Prague quake that struck on Nov. 6, 2011, a new study confirms.

The findings suggest that even small man-made earthquakes, such as those of just a magnitude 1 or magnitude 2, can trigger damaging quakes, said study co-author Elizabeth Cochran, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Even if wastewater injection only directly affects a low-hazard fault, those smaller events could trigger an event on a larger fault nearby,” she told Live Science.

The Prague earthquake was the largest of thousands of quakes that rattled Oklahoma in late 2011. Three were magnitude-5 or stronger. The 2011 quakes struck along the Wilzetta fault, a fault zone near Prague. Earthquakes break faults like a boat plowing through thick ice — the fault zips open as the earthquake ruptures the fault, and then seals itself shut behind. Each of the three biggest quakes tore apart a different part of the Wilzetta fault, the researchers said.

Read more here.

5 Comments on "Wastewater Injection Triggered Oklahoma’s Earthquake Cascade"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Mar 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm |

    fortunately its happening in Oklahoma
    so no great loss

  2. InfvoCuernos | Mar 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm |

    So, in the quest for energy resources, they might endanger other energy sources like power plants? Who is driving this bus, a bunch of drunk apes?

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