On Tuesday, the 4.3-magnitude earthquake – as stated by the U.S. Geological Survey – knocked out the power to more than four thousand homes and businesses in the Oklahoma City area.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake, which struck Tuesday at 5:39 a.m., had the epicentre five miles (eight km) north-east of Edmond, Oklahoma. About ten minutes later, a smaller earthquake with a 3.4 magnitude hit the area.
After the earthquake, about 4,400 businesses and houses lost power, but Edmond officials said that the electricity was quickly restored to the city.
Because of gas and oil production, there has been an underground injection of wastewater, which may have triggered the earthquakes in Oklahoma. In response to the recent occurrences, state regulations started closing down disposal wells, and reducing the volume overall.
Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Geological Society said that drilling operations of natural gas and the wastewater from oil are very likely to have triggered most of the earthquakes in Oklahoma in 2015.
Dr. Austen Holland, a Supervisory Geophysicist at the Albuquerque Seismic Laboratory (ASL) and former Oklahoma State Seismologist, and Richard D. Andrews, the Oklahoma State Geologist, said that the rate of earthquakes in the areas where gas drilling and oil operations are very intense, suggests that they most likely do not represent a process that occurs naturally.
Each year, geologists used to record about 1.5 earthquakes (on average) with a magnitude of three. However, nowadays they record 2.5 earthquakes (on average) with a magnitude of three or higher per day.
Shifts within the bedrock usually lead to earthquakes east of the Rockies in North America, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That being said, very few earthquakes east of the Rockies have been linked to mapped geologic faults, unlike California’s San Andreas fault system.
In San Andreas, scientists have geologic evidence that helps them figure out which fault caused a large earthquake and whether it is likely to produce similar ones in the future. One hypothesis for the central and eastern North America earthquakes is that is that they are caused by faults that have been reactivated due to current stress conditions.
In eastern North America, the bedrock is laced with faults that used to be active in earlier geological eras, but some are still active today, scientists say.
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