Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than any state in the lower 48, including California. And, as CNBC reports, the cause of all this shaking appears to be manmade. But can anything be done?
Scientists are blaming the quakes on the disposal of wastewater that comes from hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking.” The amount of fracking has dramatically increased in Oklahoma over the last few years. There are technologies for disposing of wastewater that would be less quake-friendly, such as recycling or evaporation. But those come at a higher cost.
Earlier this month, in response to a magnitude 5.8 quake, regulators ordered a number of Oklahoma disposal wells to be shut down. But scientists say more research is needed about what’s going on down below, before decisions can be made about how to stop the quakes. And that research comes with a hefty price tag.