OK human-induced earthquake in 2011 may have triggered larger quake, finds study

Sponsored by


PASADENA, CA, March 6, 2014 -- According to a new study involving researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), scientists observed that a human-induced magnitude 5.0 earthquake near Prague, Okla., in November 2011, may have triggered the larger M5.7 earthquake less than a day later. This research suggests that the M5.7 quake was the largest human-caused earthquake associated with wastewater injection.

Historically, earthquakes in the central United States have been uncommon. Yet in the year 2011 alone, numerous moderate-sized earthquakes occurred in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Arkansas. Many of these earthquakes occurred near wastewater injection wells, and some have been proven to be caused by human activities.

The 2011 Oklahoma earthquake sequence included the M5.7 earthquake on November 6 that ruptured a part of the Wilzetta fault system, a complex fault zone about 200 km (124 mi) in length near the ceity of Prague. Less than 24 hours prior to the M5.7, a M5.0 foreshock occurred on November 5, which occurred near active wastewater disposal wells and was linked in a previously-published study to fluid injection in those wells. These earthquakes have not been directly linked to hydrofracturing

The new research suggests that the foreshock, by increasing stresses where M5.7 mainshock ruptured, may have triggered the mainshock, which in turn, triggered thousands of aftershocks along the Wilzetta fault system, including a M5.0 aftershock on November 8. If this hypothesis is correct, the M5.7 earthquake would be the largest and most powerful earthquake ever associated with wastewater injection. All three earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 and greater along the Wilzetta fault exhibited strike-slip motion at three independent locations along the fault, suggesting that three separate portions of the Wilzetta fault system were activated.  

The paper, "Observations of Static Coulomb Stress Triggering of the November 2011 M5.7 Oklahoma Earthquake Sequence," was published in the "Journal of Geophysical Research" this week.

See also: "Underground Unrest"

###

Sponsored by

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Water Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox or Mailbox

Subscribe to one of our magazines or email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

ND judge, states block 'Waters of the U.S.' rule from taking effect

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota -- in collaboration with a dozen states -- blocked the Clean Water Rule, or "Waters of the U.S." rule, from taking effect on Friday, Aug. 28.

City of Jerome, Idaho, settles wastewater permit violations with EPA

In a recent settlement between the City of Jerome, Idaho, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the city has agreed to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant to ensure that the facility has the capacity to handle future discharges.

New study to shed light on persistence of Ebola virus in wastewater

In light of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, new research by a group of microbial risk-assessment and virology researchers suggests that the procedures for disposal of Ebola-contaminated liquid waste might underestimate its ability to survive in wastewater.

NJ gov approves $1.9B funding for critical water, wastewater infrastructure projects

In an effort to protect the environment and modernize critical New Jersey infrastructure, Governor Chris Christie recently signed legislation authorizing up to $1.94 billion in state financing for projects to improve drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across the state.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  

 


© 2015. PennWell Corporation. All Rights Reserved. PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS