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ScienceEnvironmentOklahoma Earthquakes: Natural Phenomenon or Man-made

Oklahoma Earthquakes: Natural Phenomenon or Man-made

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded seven small earthquakes located in central Oklahoma during the past 24 hours. The quakes ranged between 2.6 and 2.9 on the richter scale*. California residents would not bat an eye regarding these small quakes but the central Oklahoma region has been experiencing more than normal earthquakes this year. In fact, these smaller quakes followed the earlier recorded 4.3 located in Logan County, OK.

Residents from the area are concerned that the oil and gas company drilling has led to the increase in the number of earthquakes. Scientific data are being analyzed so that officials may make a policy decision.

A July 4 publication in Science regarding 2500 central Oklahoma earthquakes concluded that injection wells were the cause of the quakes. According to the paper, “The pressure can reduce forces acting to keep faults locked and trigger earthquakes.”

*According to the USGS, earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest ones felt by humans. Damage is more likely from quakes at a 4.0 magnitude and higher.

Layne Heinyhttp://www.layneheiny.com
LPH is a high school physics teacher interested in the Apple iPad and iPhone, Microsoft Surface, Tablet PCs, and other mobile devices. He resides with one large dog who begs for pizza, hamburgers, French fries, and anything else on the dinner table.

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