MIAMI – Oklahoma has been shook by 83 earthquakes just this week, some were felt locally. The dramatic increase in earthquakes has many Oklahomans concerned about the escalation of these events in recent years across the state which is economically heavily dependent on oil and gas.

The U.S. Geological Society (USGS) which tracks such seismic activity believes the escalation of activity is the result of hydraulic fracturing caused by injection wells. The process uses drilling byproducts and wastewater which are injected into deep wells to extract oil or gas.

“There’s is some naturally occurring seismic activity in Oklahoma but clearly there’s an increase in seismicity. Everybody can see the drilling is attributing to this, it’s just unclear how much or which processes are causing it,” USGS geophysicist Julie Dutton said. “There’s obviously a correlation and we’re constantly trying to determine how much of an effect it is on the frequency of earthquakes there.”

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