Pumping vast amounts of fluids underground may have set off swarm of tremors
K.M. Keranen et al/Science 2014
Pumping wastewater underground may rock Oklahoma. Vast quantities of water left over from oil and gas extraction and then injected into disposal wells may have set off a surge of earthquakes that has shaken the state since 2008.
And disposal wells don’t just trigger quakes nearby. Tremors can rattle the ground up to 35 kilometers away — much farther than scientists had previously thought, researchers report July 3 in Science.
The new study is the most definitive to link Oklahoma’s rocketing earthquake numbers to fluid injection, says seismologist Steve Horton of the University of Memphis in Tennessee.