Researchers To Conduct Seismic Survey In Lincoln County

Monday, December 12th 2011, 7:30 pm
By: News 9

The aftershocks have mostly stopped, but we haven't forgotten the big 5.6 earthquake that shook the state last month. Now it seems we'll be learning more about why it happened and if we should expect more in the future.

Special Coverage: Oklahoma Earthquakes

There is seismic surveying going on pretty much all the time in Oklahoma, to help oil and gas companies determine where they want to drill. It just so happens that one such survey is about to get started in and around the town of Prague, in Lincoln County, which is roughly where the earthquake was centered.

Monday morning, officials with the company doing this survey, South Star Exploration, told Corporation Commissioners how they plan to produce 3D sub-surface imagery, along about 17 miles of the Wilzetta fault, and then allow the Oklahoma Geological Survey to review the data.

As damaging as the 5.6 quake was, state researchers have already been collecting their own data on seismicity in the area, but said this type of surveying is something they could never afford to do themselves.

They said it will allow them to create a more precise map of the fault, to see where it ruptured and where other stress points might be.

"We hope to learn a little more about the possibility for the rest of the fault and it's capability to produce earthquakes, or damaging earthquakes," Seismologist Austin Holland said.

In his mind, the November quakes were naturally caused, because of their proximity to a known fault, and the fact that they were quite a bit deeper than any oil and gas activity in the area.

Officials with the Geological Survey assured commissioners the seismic surveying itself will not cause additional earthquakes in the area.