2/18/2014 — Loud BOOMS heard / felt across Oklahoma — Earthquake Unrest showing Globally

Loud “booms” are being heard (and felt) across the state of Oklahoma.

Video update on the boom events here:

 

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Dozens of residents across the state of Oklahoma are reporting a shaking , rumbling sensation which is accompanied by AUDIBLE noise in the form of “booms”.

Shaking houses, and disturbing residents, some are left asking the question (quote):

“If I’m experiencing eight of these in one day, then when does it erupt and become absolutely horrible that takes my house down?”

Experts are divided as to the specific “cause” of these events… however quick consensus is forming around the actuality that these events are the result of “fracking” (natural gas injection / extraction wells).

The USGS has pretty much settled the debate as of late 2013, issuing this press release, saying the Oklahoma movement is due to man made activities (induced seismicity) :

http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/man-made-earthquakes/

 

Earthquake Swarm Continues in Central Oklahoma
Released: 10/22/2013 1:07:59 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192
In partnership with: Oklahoma Geological Survey
Since January 2009, more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have rattled Central Oklahoma, marking a significant rise in the frequency of these seismic events.  The U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey are conducting collaborative research quantifying the changes in earthquake rate in the Oklahoma City region, assessing the implications of this swarm for large-earthquake hazard, and evaluating possible links between these earthquakes and wastewater disposal related to oil and gas production activities in the region. IMG_74691Studies show one to three magnitude 3.0 earthquakes or larger occurred yearly from 1975 to 2008, while the average grew to around 40 earthquakes per year from 2009 to mid-2013. “We’ve statistically analyzed the recent earthquake rate changes and found that they do not seem to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates,” said Bill Leith, USGS seismologist. “These results suggest that significant changes in both the background rate of events and earthquake triggering properties needed to have occurred in order to explain the increases in seismicity. This is in contrast to what is typically observed when modeling natural earthquake swarms.” 2013-hockey-stick

The analysis suggests that a contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes triggers may be from activities such as wastewater disposal–a phenomenon known as injection-induced seismicity. The OGS has examined the behavior of the seismicity through the state assessing the optimal fault orientations and stresses within the region of increased seismicity, particularly the unique behavior of the Jones swarm just east of Oklahoma City. The USGS and OGS are now focusing on determining whether evidence exists for such triggering, which is widely viewed as being demonstrated in recent years in Arkansas, Ohio and Colorado.

 

This “swarm” includes the largest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma, a magnitude 5.6 that occurred near Prague Nov. 5, 2011.  It damaged a number of homes as well as the historic Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory’s University, in Shawnee, Okla.  Almost 60 years earlier in1952, a comparable magnitude 5.5, struck El Reno and Oklahoma City. More recently, earthquakes of magnitude 4.4 and 4.2 hit east of Oklahoma City on April 16, 2013, causing objects to fall off shelves.

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Following the earthquakes that occurred near Prague in 2011, the agencies issued a joint statement, focusing on the Prague event and ongoing seismic monitoring in the region.  Since then, the USGS and OGS have continued monitoring and reporting earthquakes, and have also made progress evaluating the significance of the swarm.

Important to people living in the Oklahoma City region is that earthquake hazard has increased as a result of the swarm. USGS calculates that ground motion probabilities, which relate to potential damage and are the basis for the seismic provisions of building codes, have increased in Oklahoma City as a result of this swarm.  While it’s been known for decades that Oklahoma is “earthquake country,” the increased hazard has important implications for residents and businesses in the area.

To more accurately determine the locations and magnitudes of earthquakes in Oklahoma, the OGS operates a 15-station seismic network.  Data from this system, and from portable seismic stations installed in the Oklahoma City region, are sent in real-time to the USGS National Earthquake Information Center, which provides 24×7 reporting on earthquakes worldwide.

 

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The recent earthquake activity in the area tells the tale.. this screenshot below shows the last 7 days of earthquakes in the USA (2.5M and greater), also shows international 4.0M+ events.

The North American Craton is being displaced from the WEST.  Due to excessive Pacific plate movement.   The excess pressure from the OPPOSITE direction which geologists expected.

This western pressure on the edge of the Craton is causing rather unexpected earthquake swarms at obvious weak points, specifically man made drilling operations,

7 days earthquakes feb 18 2014 final

 

If you actually look up the earthquake epicenters in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, and Texas, you’ll see ALL the large events, and subsequent smaller events, are  happening directly near frack wells.

For example, yesterdays 3.9M earthquake occurred just 1,700 feet away (0.3miles) from the nearest injection well .  Undeniably, a natural gas extraction / injection station :

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usc000msmc#summary

Here is a screenshot of that actual station:

oklahoma fracking well feb 18 2014

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Main Stream News Report regarding the Oklahoma “booms” here:

http://gma.yahoo.com/residents-baffled-terrifying-loud-booms-oklahoma-054156094–abc-news-topstories.html

If you hear a bang in the night in Oklahoma, it’s probably not a monster, but could something worse — an earthquake.

Across the south central state, 20 earthquakes were reported to The United States Geological Survey on Saturday alone. One of those quakes in the Edmond area had a magnitude of 3.5.

But residents are puzzled as to why the quakes are occurring so frequently and making such alarmingly loud noises.

“Felt like bombs going off. It’s just a huge loud noise and then it’s like a reverb from that boom that just shakes the entire house,” Logan County resident Nancy York told ABC News affiliate KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City.

“If I’m experiencing eight of these in one day, then when does it erupt and become absolutely horrible that takes my house down?” York asked.

Similar booms have been heard across other states including Indiana, South Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island in the last month. All of these regions are active areas on the USGS seismic hazard map.

Seismologist Austin Holland with the Oklahoma Geological Survey said that the unexplained noises are a result of sound waves emitting deep from within the earth before erupting. Residents might not know it’s an earthquake because the shaking may be too slight to detect.

“When you’re on top of a small earthquake it generates a boom. It’s kind of similar to an explosion,” Holland said. “I know these booms have been reported in other places and they couldn’t figure out what was going on.”

Oklahoma has seen a steep rise in the frequency of earthquakes in the area, according to a joint statement by both USGS and OGS. Residents have experienced more than 200 measuring at least a magnitude 3.0 since the beginning of 2009.

Holland said the USGS and OGS are conducting joint research on the increase in the frequency of earthquakes in the area.

It is not clear if the quakes are being triggered by human activity or are occurring naturally, Holland said, although he said suggested changes to lake levels may be involved.

The scientists are looking at hydraulic fracturing among all other possible factors, he said, but it may be a while before they come up with a definitive answer.

“We have no way to predict the future. Earthquakes aren’t predictable,” Holland said. “Certainly the more earthquakes we have, the more likely we are to have a larger one.”
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Why is this occurring?  How far in advance did we know it would occur?

Here is my full website post explanation of the overall movement (from 10 days ago ,Feb. 8th) :

http://dutchsinse.com/2082014-earthquake-overview-midwest-movement-new-madrid-east-coast/

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Follow up post on the 4.4M earthquake in South Carolina here:

http://dutchsinse.com/2142014-4-4m-earthquake-south-carolina-craton-edge-movement/

4.4m south carolina feb 14 2014

Video report on the 4.4M event in South Carolina here:

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China’s 6.9M (7.0M) earthquake discussed here (along with activity to expect near term following this event):

6.9 m earthquake china feb 12 2014

Full post on the China event here:

http://dutchsinse.com/2122014-6-8m-earthquake-in-western-china-major-movement-forecast/

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Full USGS article on Fracking induced earthquakes occurring in Oklahoma:

The number of earthquakes has increased dramatically over the past few years within the central and eastern United States. Nearly 450 earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and larger occurred in the four years from 2010-2013, over 100 per year on average, compared with an average rate of 20 earthquakes per year observed from 1970-2000.

This increase in earthquakes prompts two important questions: Are they natural, or man-made? And what should be done in the future as we address the causes and consequences of these events to reduce associated risks? USGS scientists have been analyzing the changes in the rate of earthquakes as well as the likely causes, and they have some answers.

USGS scientists have found that at some locations the increase in seismicity coincides with the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells. Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed for this purpose.

Review Article on Injection-Induced Earthquakes

U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist William Ellsworth reviewed the issue of injection-induced earthquakes in a July 2013 study published in the journal Science. The article focused on the injection of fluids into deep wells as a common practice for disposal of wastewater, and discusses recent events and key scientific challenges for assessing this hazard and moving forward to reduce associated risks.

What is Induced Seismicity?

Although it may seem like science fiction, man-made earthquakes have been a reality for decades. It has long been understood that earthquakes can be induced by impoundment of water in reservoirs, surface and underground mining, withdrawal of fluids and gas from the subsurface, and injection of fluids into underground formations.

 

What is Wastewater Disposal?

Water that is salty or polluted by chemicals needs to be disposed of in a manner that prevents it from contaminating freshwater sources. Often, it is most economical to geologically sequester such wastewater by injecting it underground, deep below any aquifers that provide drinking water.

Wastewater can result from a variety of processes, including those related to energy production. For example, water is usually present in rock formations containing oil and gas and therefore will be co-produced during oil and gas production. Wastewater can also occur as flow back from hydraulic fracturing operations that involve injecting water under high pressure into a rock formation to stimulate the movement of oil and gas to a well for production.

Wastewater injection increases the underground pore pressure, which may, in effect, lubricate nearby faults thereby weakening them. If the pore pressure increases enough, the weakened fault will slip, releasing stored tectonic stress in the form of an earthquake. Even faults that have not moved in millions of years can be made to slip and cause an earthquake if conditions underground are appropriate.

Although the disposal process has the potential to trigger earthquakes, not every wastewater disposal well produces earthquakes. In fact, very few of the more than 30,000 wells designed for this purpose appear to cause earthquakes.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Many questions have been raised about whether hydraulic fracturing — commonly known as “fracking”— is responsible for the recent increase of earthquakes. USGS’s studies suggest that the actual hydraulic fracturing process is only very rarely the direct cause of felt earthquakes. While hydraulic fracturing works by making thousands of extremely small “microearthquakes,” they are, with just a few exceptions, too small to be felt; none have been large enough to cause structural damage. As noted previously, underground disposal of wastewater co-produced with oil and gas, enabled by hydraulic fracturing operations, has been linked to induced earthquakes.

Unknowns and Questions Moving Forward

 

USGS scientists are dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the geological conditions and industrial practices associated with induced earthquakes, and to determining how seismic risk can be managed.

One risk-management approach highlighted in Ellsworth’s article involves the setting of seismic activity thresholds for safe operation. Under this “traffic-light” system, if seismic activity exceeds preset thresholds, reductions in injection would be made. If seismicity continues or escalates, operations could be suspended.

The current regulatory framework for wastewater disposal wells was designed to protect drinking water sources from contamination and does not address earthquake safety. Ellsworth noted that one consequence is that both the quantity and timeliness of information on injection volumes and pressures reported to the regulatory agencies is far from ideal for managing earthquake risk from injection activities.

Thus, improvements in the collection and reporting of injection data to regulatory agencies would provide much-needed information on conditions potentially associated with induced seismicity. In particular, said Ellsworth, daily reporting of injection volumes, and peak and average injection pressures would be a step in the right direction, as would measurement of the pre-injection water pressure and tectonic stress.

Importance of Understanding Hazards and Risks

There is a growing interest in understanding the risks associated with injection-induced earthquakes, especially in the areas of the country where, before the modern boom in oil and gas production, earthquakes large enough to be felt were rare.

For example, wastewater disposal appears to be related to the magnitude-5.6 earthquake that struck rural central Oklahoma in 2011 leading to a few injuries and damage to more than a dozen homes. Damage from an earthquake of this magnitude would be much worse if it were to happen in a more densely populated area.

The USGS and Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) have conducted research quantifying the changes in earthquake rate in the Oklahoma City region, assessing and evaluating possible links between these earthquakes and wastewater disposal related to oil and gas production activities in the region. In a joint statement {http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3710}, USGS and OGS identified wastewater injection as a contributing factor for the 2011 earthquake swarm and damaging magnitude 5.6 event.

Studies show one to three magnitude 3.0 earthquakes or larger occurred yearly from 1975 to 2008, while the average grew to around 40 earthquakes per year from 2009 to mid-2013.

“We’ve statistically analyzed the recent earthquake rate changes and found that they do not seem to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates,” said Bill Leith, USGS seismologist. “These analyses require significant changes in both the background rate of events and earthquake triggering properties needed to have occurred to be consistent with the observed increases in seismicity. This is in contrast to what is typically found when modeling natural earthquake swarms.”

The Oklahoma analysis suggests that a contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes occurrence may be from injection-induced seismicity from activities such as wastewater disposal. The OGS has examined the behavior of the seismicity through the state assessing the optimal fault orientations and stresses within the region of increased seismicity, particularly the unusual behavior of the swarm just east of Oklahoma City.

 

 

Start with Science

As the use of injection for disposal of wastewater increases, the importance of knowing the associated risks also grows. To meet these challenges, the USGS hopes to increase research efforts to understand the causes and effects of injection-induced earthquakes.

More Information

The USGS has FAQs online that provide additional details and background on induced seismicity. You can also learn more by reading a story by the Department of the Interior on this topic.

Additional insight and link to Dec. 2, 2013 public lecture on induced earthquakes.

Reference list about induced earthquakes.

News release about earthquake swarms in Oklahoma.

 

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Monitor Earthquakes (nationally and internationally) here:

http://dutchsinse.com/11302011-list-of-earthquake-links-for-global-monitoring/

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