Tag Archives: Fracking Quakes?

A Look at Fracking-Earthquake Claims

As I am wont to do, I thought I’d look at one of the claims about fracking in wells in Oklahoma.  Why Oklahoma?  I’ve heard quite a few people who are alarmed about all the quakes in Oklahoma since fracking came on line.  So, why not take a look at some basic information?

Here is a map of Oklahoma (without the Panhandle, which has had no quakes):

Map of Oklahoma Quakes 1980-2015

Oklahoma quakes from 1980 to 2015. The yellow circles are quakes in the last week. (Source: USGS)

That looks pretty, bad, I have to admit.  Especially when we all think of Oklahoma as a place that doesn’t HAVE quakes!

And this map makes it even look worse, doesn’t it?  At least on first glance (also not showing the Panhandle).

Fracked Wells in Oklahoma (most of)

Map of Fracked wells in Oklahoma. (Source: http://www.drillingmaps.com/fracking.html#.VcR6eflVhBc)


Look at all those fracked wells!  All of that LOOKS like an indictment of fracking. But let’s at least go through the motions and see how bad it is…  Let’s gather some information and do some comparing, okay?  We need to identify the basic information first, and see what happens.

I guessed that the 10 basic pieces of information should be the follwing.  I hope that the list looks pretty sound to you.  If the fracking is causing quakes, we should get a good sense of that – not by looking at general impressions, but by going into a little detail.  The questions:

  1. When did fracking in Oklahama begin?
  2. Has fracking increased in recent years?
  3. Where are the fracking wells?
  4. Is there a pattern to the fracking well locations?
  5. Where are the quakes in Oklahoma in recent years?
  6. How many quakes have there been?
  7. How strong are the earthquakes?
  8. Is there a pattern to the quake locations?
  9. Is there a tie-in between the fracking well areas and the quake areas?
  10. For comparison, do neighboring regions show any fracking-quake patterns?

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