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We Have A New State Seismologist!

8:24 AM EDT on September 20, 2016


Somebody tell David Boren and Harold Hamm to brew a new pot of coffee! There's a new state seismologist in town for them to coerce and intimidate.

Last Friday, the Oklahoma Geological Survey presented by Continental Resources announced it has hired Jacob Walter, a scientist from the University of Texas, to fill the open seismologist position that was made available when Austin Holland wisely got the hell out of Oklahoma in August of 2015. Yes, that's right. We finally got someone from Texas to move to Oklahoma for a job. Way to go, Chamber of Commerce!

Here are the details via

University of Texas geologist Jacob Walter has been named lead seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the survey said Friday.

Walter is a research associate at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin. He will take over his new role in November.

“We are pleased to add Dr. Walter to the Seismology team at the Oklahoma Geological Survey,” OGS Director Jeremy Boak said in a statement. “He brings valuable research capabilities, and we look forward to working with him.”

The role of lead seismologist has become much more high-profile as Oklahoma has in recent years become the most seismically active state in the nation. Experts have linked the surge in earthquakes to wastewater disposal activity of the state's oil and gas industry.

Holy shit. Did you see that? The Oklahoman admitted the recent surge in earthquakes are linked to the oil and gas industry. What the hell is going on inside the offices of the Oklahoman? First they investigate Scott Pruitt's campaign spending, and now they're admitting that the energy industry causes earthquakes. Did Devon Energy cut some of its advertising spending? Is there a small revolt going on over there? We need answers please!

Walter holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Physical Doctorate in Earth Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He worked as a geologist at the Trihydro Corporation in Laramie, Wyo., and as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He has worked at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin since 2014.

Walter's research interests include ice sheet and glacier dynamics; tectonic tremor and slow slip; earthquakes; and seismic triggering of earthquakes. He has conducted research in Antarctica, Costa Rica, the Solomon Islands, Greenland, Texas and Alaska.

Awesome! We'll finally have a qualified scientist on hand to investigate the many ice sheets and glaciers kniving their way through Oklahoma. That may not seem like a top priority at the moment, but then again, nobody really gave a shit about earthquakes in Oklahoma 10 years ago either. Kudos to the OGS for planning ahead!

Anyway, Walter looks very qualified based on his resume, but you have to wonder why it took the state over a year to hire a new seismologist. Did the energy industry want some say in the matter, or was it difficult to find a qualified geologists who actually wanted to move here? Both scenarios are kind of disturbing when you think about it.

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