Did Drilling Cause Oklahoma's Quakes?

Some blame fracking, amid sketchy evidence
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2011 2:16 PM CST
Did Drilling Cause Oklahoma's Quakes?
An oil pump is seen in Glenpool, Oklahoma in this file photo.   (Flickr / Roy Luck)

Scientists aren’t entirely sure what caused the earthquakes that rocked Oklahoma last week, but many in the state are wondering whether it might have something to do with the oil wells and fracking operations that dot the state, the LA Times reports. Oil companies scoff at the notion—“To try to blame it on an industry that’s been around for hundreds of years is pretty far-fetched,” the head of one group said—and scientists say it’s unlikely, but they’re looking into it.

One geophysicist examined the connection between drilling and one county’s uptick in seismic activity earlier this year, and found some correlation, but said it was impossible to prove causation. Fracking and wastewater injection wells have been known to cause earthquakes in Arkansas, California, Texas, and overseas, one geophysicist says, though not of “any significant magnitude.” But the theory has captured the public imagination. “They draw so much out of the earth,” one resident says. “Something’s got to give.” (More Oklahoma stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.