Has Oklahoma Solved Its Earthquake Crisis?
Oklahoma’s earthquake rate has declined significantly since late May, reports Ars Technica. And things should be improving even further, according to a new study from Stanford University.
The improvement comes after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered wastewater injections to be reduced earlier this year.
The injections are generally accepted in the scientific community to be the cause of Oklahoma’s staggering rise in earthquakes over the past few years.
As hydrogeologist Scott Johnson notes, it’s hard to overstate how quickly earthquakes became a way of life in the Sooner State. Before 2009, Oklahoma averaged about one earthquake of magnitude 3.0 or higher per year. In 2015, after several years of fracking operations injecting billions of gallons of water deep into state’s foundation, that earthquake rate had risen from one to 900 per year.
The rate of injections hit its peak in early 2015. After that, slumping oil prices slowed production. And now that the state has further curbed wastewater injection, the quakes have begun to abate.