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Experts say manmade earthquakes should be added to hazard maps

Joe Wertz
StateImpact Oklahoma

Scientists, regulators and technical experts from the energy industry met in Oklahoma recently.  They discussed how earthquakes triggered by oil and gas operations should be accounted for on national seismic hazard maps reports StateImpact Oklahoma.

The maps and hazard models influence local emergency response, insurance rates and building codes.

Currently, the maps don’t include “non-tectonic” earthquakes scientists have linked to disposal wells and hydraulic fracturing known as fracking.

They were excluded because scientists didn’t think they posed a hazard. 

Justin Rubinstein is a USGS geophysicist stations in Menlo Park, California.  He says with the big increase in the earthquake rate and occurrence of some damaging induced earthquakes, we realize we can no longer neglect these earthquakes. 

The workshop was attended by scientists at the forefront of induced earthquake research, state seismologists, as well as oil and gas regulators from Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arkansas. 

These states have recorded quakes suspected of being linked to oil and gas activity.