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Oklahoma earthquakes: Possible cause?


Larry

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Yes, this is yet another episode in the continuing series of "Somebody on Larry's Facebook said something, and Larry decided to re-post it here".

I moved to Florida from Oklahoma, and I'm still in contact with several people there.

One of them observed that he's been living in Oklahoma for 50 years, and had never felt an earthquake, until we have three of them in just a few months, causing him to wonder if there might be a cause. And, in between the kind of responses you'd expect, ("It's because OSU is contending for a National Championship in football."), one poster posted a link, to this study.

Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma (PDF)

Excerpt from the conclusion:

The *strong *spatial *and *temporal *correlations *to *the * hydraulic-*‐fracturing *in *Picket *Unit *B *Well *4-*‐18 *certainly *suggest *that *the * earthquakes *observed *in *the *Eola *Field *could *have *possibly *been *triggered *by *this *activity. * *Simply *because *the *earthquakes *fit *a *simple *pore *pressure *diffusion *model * does *not *indicate *that *this *is *the *physical *process *that *caused *these *earthquakes. * The *number *of *historical *earthquakes *in *the *area *and *uncertainties *in *hypocenter * locations *make *it *impossible *to *determine *with *a *high *degree *of *certainty *whether * or *not *hydraulic-*‐fracturing *induced *these *earthquakes.

(No, I have no idea why a copy-and-paste from the PDF puts an asterisk in front of every word.)

Now, if I'm reading that correctly, (and taking into account that, at least according to some folks who've read the whole thing, the authors seemed to go to great lengths to say that they haven't proved a cause of anything), what I see is that the study (Which, I'll point out, wasn't talking about the three earthquakes that people have felt, but was studying numerous quakes that were so small that only one person reported feeling them.) has concluded that saying that the quakes were caused by fracking was a plausible theory.

But heck, that's enough for the folks in Tailgate to jump on, anyway. :)

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One of them observed that he's been living in Oklahoma for 50 years, and had never felt an earthquake, until we have three of them in just a few months, causing him to wonder if there might be a cause.

...Sure there's a cause; there are faults in the area (I'm guessing left over from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains Orogeny) and sometimes earthquakes happen. The cracks and stresses from a mountain building episode 300 million years ago just might not do much of anything for fifty years. It's the Earth, it's old, and a human life span is effectively an instantaneous blip of time.

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I frequent a lot of alternative news sites,and there are a lot of threads devoted to HAARP and their plot to kill us all. Literally anything other than regular T-Storms are blamed on HAARP by those people, I am being 100% serious

Oh I know. I see the updates sometimes on Facebook and stuff. Read the comments in the videos and such. A lot of what they say,well,wow. Not in a good way mind you.

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I still haven't figured out how I feel about fracking, but from what I understand about the process, I find it hard to believe that it would be enough to cause earthquakes. Thus, my first thought after reading the OP is, "Yeah, and I've lived in the DC area for almost my whole life, and never felt an earthquake until two months ago. It must be the frackers!"

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Who or what is a HAARP?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAARP

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Built by BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT), its purpose is to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance purposes. The HAARP program operates a major Arctic facility, known as the HAARP Research Station, on an Air Force–owned site near Gakona, Alaska.

HAARP has been blamed by conspiracy theorists for a range of events, including numerous natural disasters. Scientists have commented that HAARP is an attractive target for conspiracy theorists because "its purpose seems deeply mysterious to the scientifically uninformed".

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Think of it this way, the fracking is done in shale layers,which if anything would lessen the likelihood of a major quake thru stress relief

or maybe enable a even larger one :evilg:

Ask yourself what actually causes earthquakes :pfft:

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Now, I have to admit, that a twa post in which he claims (completely without support) that man-made earthquakes are good, because they're better than what might have happened in some alternate Universe, (and then backed up by a suggestion that we should all be looking for the real killer), wasn't what I expected.

I probably should have expected it, but I didn't.

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I try to please :)

It is foolish to blame tectonic movement on fracking,by doing so you enable my claim of stress relief

If the New Madrid ever pops again ,fracking ain't gonna be the cause

Ah, the old "man's actions cannot possibly have any effect, because it's possible that somewhere, an event may occur that wasn't man-made" line of "reasoning".

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But, looking at the actual paper.

1) I have no problem at all in saying that the thing's over my head. Heck, I gave up on even trying to read the thing after a paragraph or two.

2) The paper doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with the three earthquakes that people have actually felt. The summary mentions that the earthquakes that they were looking at were so weak that they were difficult to detect with their equipment, and this also means that there was uncertainty in determining the quakes actual epicenters.

In fact, it mentions that only one of the quakes they measured was large enough for a single person to have noticed it.

3) That said, though, I'm looking at the pictures. (That seems to be the limit of my ability to comprehend). There are a pair of graphs on page 27 of the PDF.

If I'm reading correctly (hey, there's a chance), then apparently their theory is that the fracking causes a jump in pressure underground, and this pressure increase then travels outward from that point. There's a black line on those graphs, that basically says "At this time, the pressure wave from the fracking would have traveled this far from the fracking site." And there are a lot of red crosshairs on the chart, showing that "at this time, there was an earthquake, this far from the fracking site".

Any crosshair above the black line, would indicate an earthquake that couldn't have been caused by their pressure-wave theory, because the pressure wave shouldn't have gotten there, yet. Any crosshair below the line would indicate an earthquake that happened after the pressure wave got there.

(And, I assume, if the crosshair is close to the black line, then that indicates an earthquake that happened right after the pressure wave got there.)

I look at those plots, and I see like one earthquake above the line, and so many below the line that I can't count them.

So, I have to confess, that tha picture looks like some evidence, to me.

Remembering the disclaimers in item 2, above. Even if this paper had conclusively proven something (which even the authors don't claim), all it would say is that the fracking produces a lot of earthquakes that are so small that they're difficult to even detect them.

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