Emergency Earthquake Funds Means More Data, Staffing For State Agencies

Thursday, January 28th 2016, 6:53 pm
By: News 9

Governor Fallin announced a transfer of emergency funds for the state’s earthquake response Thursday. The money will be split between the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

After months of shelves shaking, homes crumbling, and tempers flying at town hall meetings, Oklahoma earthquakes are now getting the attention experts say they need - to the tune of $1.387 million.

1/28/16 Related Story: Fallin Approves Emergency Funds To Aid Earthquake Response

State geologist Jeremy Boak said the OGS will use its $1 million to add seismometers, improve transmission lines, and make network upgrades.

“Create a better database to put all of our earthquake data in so that it’s easier to pull it out and analyze, get better views and say, ‘Ahh, now there’s something we didn’t see before,’” Boak explained.

The OGS will also use the money to deepen their understanding of the basement rock below and how exactly it connects to the injection well water problem in certain regions.

“We think this is a good set of projects that are going to give us answers,” Boak said.

The Corporation Commission is also in need of technology upgrades, but Matt Skinner said a bigger source of frustration has been staffing.

Its $387,000 will give them a contract geophysicist, two contract geologists, a clerical worker and an oil and gas attorney.

“The problem is still with us and we need to get our hands around it and not so much in a reactive manner but in a proactive manner and this is an important step toward getting to that,” Skinner told News 9.

Unfortunately, geologists say there is no safe, quick fix to stopping these quakes.

But they said these changes will help them study the issue in depth and help the Corporation Commission take action on injection wells with more certainty.

Keep up with earthquake activity in Oklahoma on News9.com/earthquakes