Rising volume of underground injections had caused seismic activity to skyrocket
C. Langenbruch and M.D. Zoback/Science Advances 2016
New wastewater disposal regulations in Oklahoma will be enough to steady the state’s shaky ground, new research predicts.
The injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations into underground wells has caused Oklahoma’s seismic activity to skyrocket (SN: 8/9/14, p. 13). In response, state regulators earlier this year ordered a 40 percent reduction in the volume of water pumped underground. After studying the statistical link between wastewater disposal and earthquakes, Stanford University geophysicists Cornelius Langenbruch and Mark Zoback predict that seismic activity in the region will return to historically normal levels within the next few years.
“It should be possible to dispose a limited volume of wastewater underground without inducing any earthquakes,”