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Quake questions


Gazette staff April 3rd, 2013

If there’s one area in which Oklahoma excels at inclusiveness, it’s natural disaster. Tornadoes, blizzards, drought — hell, why not earthquakes, too? Bill Haley and His Comets didn’t have Oklahoma in mind when they recorded “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” but that ’50s hit certainly has applied to the Sooner State in recent years.

Credit: Brad Gregg

Earthquakes measurable on the Richter Scale are now commonplace in Central Oklahoma. The “why” part has puzzled experts, but last week University of Oklahoma seismologist Katie Keranen and two other researchers weighed in with a report attributing a series of November 2011 earthquakes near Prague — including one of a 5.7 magnitude on Nov. 6 — on the oil and gas industry’s underground injection of wastewater. Their findings were published in a geosciences journal, Geology.

Oh, sure, go ahead and pick on the poor oil ’n’ gas industry.

Keranen’s findings contradict those of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, which has reported in the past that Oklahoma’s shake, rattle and roll episodes are a natural shifting of the Earth. An executive of New Dominion, which operates one of the wells near the site of the Prague quakes, was a bit crankier in his assessment. He told Mother Jones magazine that people who claim to know the cause of the Oklahoma temblors are “either lying to your face or they’re idiots.”


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