Record setting rains that fell on Sunday in Texas and Oklahoma are still wreaking havoc as flooding continues in the region. The storms dumped enough water that the rivers and creek banks were not able to contain all of the wet weather flow. Runoff peaked as late as Monday in these areas causing the National Weather Service to advise of continued flooding threats.
The state of Oklahoma’s energy and environment cabinet unveiled a new website this week that hosts scholarly articles and an interactive map of earthquake and injection well locations. The conclusion: the frequent earthquakes that have been hitting the state are mostly due to the underground disposal of billions of barrels of wastewater from oil and gas wells according to scientific consensus. This is a departure from years of official skepticism from the state government.
On Saturday, September 3rd, an earthquake struck northern Oklahoma at around 7 am. The quake was also felt accross Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. The epicenter was determined to be near Pawnee, about 74 miles north of Oklahoma City at a depth of 3.7 miles.
The quake was initially measured at a 5.6 magnitude, tying the state record. After further depth analysis, the USGS has updated the reading to a 5.8, making it the largest earthquake on record in the state of Oklahoma.
This week, several smaller earthquakes struck the same part of Oklahoma. So far, there have been 8 recorded earthquakes over a magnitude of 3.0. The Oklahoma Geological Survey believes it is possible that these quakes my be linked wastewater injection wells from fracking. They are beginning a study to determine ways to reduce the chances of "inadvertently inducing a seismic event". At this time, the USGS believes the event was a result of shallow strike-slip faulting.
The Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, just published the reconnaissance report of the 2016 M 5.8 Pawnee, Oklahoma earthquake investigation expedition.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey annual forecast on natural and human–induced seismic risk, Oklahoma and Kansas may experience serious ground shaking during 2017 due to the drilling activity of the oil and gas industry.