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When It Comes To Quakes, What Oklahoma Doesn't Know Might Hurt It

Cori Duke

A prominent Oklahoma geologist says, when it comes to earthquakes, the trouble could come from unknown quarters. Specifically, the director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey is worried about what scientists don’t understand about geology.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, Jeremy Boak told a roomful of geoscientists this week in Dallas that he’s concerned that the biggest quakes seem to be happening far away from zones of “high concern,” which is to say, areas near injection wells.

Somehow, he noted, the injection wells are pushing faults that are relatively far away from where the injection is occurring. The 5.8 magnitude September quake, for example, occurred in a fault theretofore unknown to geologists. And that means, since scientists aren’t sure where all the fault lines are, a big quake could hit almost anywhere. "Where is the fault we've not seen that's not yet been hit by this pressure pulse?" he said.