Yesterday afternoon, about 12 hours before a pair of man-made earthquake once again struck our state, the USGS released a report stating there's only a small 5% - 12% chance that a major earthquake will strike Oklahoma at some point over the next 50-years.
North-central and northwestern Oklahoma are among the highest risk areas in the country for damage from earthquakes, according to an updated earthquake hazard report released by the U.S. Geological Survey on Monday.The report marks the first time the USGS hazard map has included risk from both natural and human-induced earthquakes.“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said in a statement. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”The one-year outlook is a supplement to the 50-year forecast the survey updated in 2014. The report found the most significant risk from induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, followed by Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to sleep better tonight after reading this. Well, that is if another earthquake doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night. Isn't that annoying? It's always difficult to fall back to sleep when you're wondering if your ceiling fan is about to crash on your head.
Let's see how our elected officials and their friends with The Oklahoman who valiantly serve the energy industry tried to spin this terrifying report into a positive:
Oklahoma officials said Monday's report highlights the importance of continuing their efforts to reduce earthquake activity in the state."With induced earthquakes, you can either change the building codes and live with the earthquakes, or you can stop the earthquakes," Michael Teague, Oklahoma Secretary for Energy and Environment, said in an interview with The Oklahoman. "We've chosen to stop the earthquakes."The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has issued 13 directives over the past year asking Arbuckle disposal wells operators to either cut volumes, plug back well depths or shut in altogether.The USGS typically updates its earthquake hazard map every five years, but the effort previously has focused only on naturally occurring earthquakes. The scientists had to change their model to account for man-made tremors.While Monday's map helps point out the risks of continued earthquake activity, the model was based on data collected over the past year and does not account for all of the efforts state regulators have put in place, Oklahoma Deputy Energy Secretary Tom Robins said."The map does not account for volume reductions," he said. "It's missing one of the data points. It's a year behind. It's a little incomplete."
Yes, the report doesn't account for volume reductions, which have worked so well that we had another pair of man-made earthquakes strike last night. Keep up the great work, Oklahoma government officials!
Anyway, I decided to once again reach out to our friend Derek Albro with Devon Energy. Since there's a 5% - 12% chance that a powerful earthquake will strike Oklahoma as a result of Devon's business activities, I was curious if they had any new earthquake talking points:
I think the odds of Derek responding to my email are lower than the chances of a catastrophic earthquake striking Oklahoma, but I'll let you know if I hear anything.