New Study Says Earthquakes Could Become Larger In Oklahoma

Tuesday, March 17th 2015, 6:47 pm

A new study on Oklahoma earthquakes said we may be in for some bigger ones. That's because seismologists said the faults where the earthquakes are occurring have a potential to produce for much larger earthquakes.

Every time there's an earthquake Lorraine Williams and her husband said they go through the house looking for damage.

And since she lives north of Guthrie, those inspections seem to happen a lot.

“Every time I look up its Guthrie and Logan County – another earthquake.”

Fortunately, most of the damage has been minimal. But a recent study said that may not be the case in the future.

The authors looked at all the earthquakes in Oklahoma and discovered a complex system of subsurface faults was reactivated. But the recent activity did not fall into what typically would happen naturally. The authors wrote "a fundamental change in the earthquake triggering process may have occurred." Of particular concern were wastewater injection wells.

And the faults became active again, so the authors of the study said they are capable of producing more and larger earthquakes meaning those three or four magnitude quakes that regularly rattle Lorraine's nerves and keepsakes could climb as high as magnitude six.

The results of the study will be used to develop an earthquake hazard map that the USGS plans to issue later this year.