Oklahoma’s earthquakes on the wane after wastewater rules take hold

The rate of man-made earthquakes in Oklahoma linked to oil fracking practices has dropped significantly since new limitations took place in May, according to an Associated Press analysis of US Geological Survey data.

Earlier this year, before new regulations requiring a 40 percent reduction in injecting wastewater into energy wells went into effect, Oklahoma was experiencing 2.3 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher per day, on average. Since then, that average has dropped to 1.3 per day, although several quakes since then have been damaging. Meanwhile, neighboring Kansas has also seen a decrease in quakes after putting limits on wastewater injection.

“Definitely the rate of quakes have gone down,” USGS geophysicist Robert Williams told the Associated Press. “At the same time we had more magnitude 5s this year than ever before historically in Oklahoma. It’s good news on one hand. It’s heading in the right direction, but troubling to see these large damaging quakes in Pawnee and Cushing.” READ MORE.

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