US' New Hotbed of Seismic Activity: Oklahoma

Minor earthquakes spike; scientists suspect gas exploration

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 6, 2014 6:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Oklahoma is positively shaking, and maybe not in a good way: A series of minor, 3-point-something earthquakes yesterday did no damage but underscore a new spike in temblors this year that some think is linked to the hunt for oil and gas. As of this month, the Sooner State has already topped the number of "felt" earthquakes—those of enough force to rattle a teacup on your shelf—recorded for the entire year in 2013, at a score of 222 for last year and 253 so far this year. "We have already crushed last year's record for number of earthquakes," a seismologist tells Reuters. An uptick in earthquakes has been traced to oil and gas work, particularly fracking, in studies. A stark note: From 1975 to 2008, Oklahoma recorded fewer than six earthquakes per year.

Oklahoma is a sudden hotbed of seismic activity.
Oklahoma is a sudden hotbed of seismic activity.   (Shutterstock)
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