The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a first-ever map forecasting human-caused earthquake activity, as opposed to natural quakes. It affirms what people living near heavy oil and gas industry already know: Injecting industrial wastewater deep underground makes the Earth shake.
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The USGS reports that the most significant hazards from so-called induced seismicity are in six states, listed in order from highest to lowest risk: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas. So far, though, Oklahoma tribes aren’t experiencing much shaking from earthquakes, and leaders surveyed by ICTMN expressed little concern.
“It hasn’t been a major concern yet that has been voiced to our department,” said Darren Shields, environmental director for the Kickapoo Tribe in central Oklahoma.
“I have felt two in the last eight years,” added Waddell Hearn, public relations director for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “It wasn’t a big deal at all.”
Still, Oklahoma and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area have emerged as areas most likely to see human-caused earthquakes over the next year; the USGS says seven million people there are at risk for near-term damage from earthquakes. Nearly 40 tribes call Oklahoma home—and their risk of damaging quakes now ranks among the highest in the country.
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