No time is a good time to lose key members of your staff. If you're the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), right now would seem to be just about the worst time to lose both your seismologists.
The OGS is the state agency responsible for gathering all the data and analyzing the earthquakes in the state. Obviously, they've been busy the last several years.
This year, at last check, there had been 722 magnitude three or greater earthquakes in the state. The analysis OGS seismologists do on those quakes is critically important to the Corporation Commission. It helps them make decisions about reducing volumes or even shutting in injection wells in areas experiencing significant seismicity.
The Survey has two research seismologist positions. Austin Holland left this summer to take a position with the US Geological Survey in New Mexico. Amberlee Darold, News 9 is told, will leave next month, also to take a position with the USGS.
OGS Director Jerry Boak told News 9 on Tuesday they still have the technical people who can work the seismic data.
"We’ll be able to do the analyses of the earthquakes that are recorded, so that catalog will stay up to date,” said Boak. “It's really sort of the deeper insight that will be a bit challenged for a while, and those of us who are geologists are going to try and fill in the gaps as much as we can.
Boak says they hope to have at least one seismologist on board by the end of the year and the second not long after that.
A spokesman for the Corporation Commission tells News 9 this is a concern for them. Their engineers and geologists depend on the information OGS provides.