Scientists Worried Daily Small Earthquakes In Oklahoma and Kansas Will Bring About Major One

Research says small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger, more dangerous quakes. Above, an Oklahoma man looks at damage from a 2011 quake.
Research says small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger, more dangerous quakes. Above, an Oklahoma man looks at damage from a 2011 quake.

New federal research says small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes.

Scientists link many of these quakes to the deep underground injections of wastewater after drilling for energy in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Federal records show Oklahoma has had nearly 200 quakes that people have felt since Jan. 1.

U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist William Ellsworth says the jump in these nuisance quakes increases the risk of future ones that can do serious damage.

The number of small quakes started rising in 2008 and then really soared in 2013 and 2014.

Ellsworth says it’s still a low risk, with a chance of about 1 in 2,500 years, but it’s among the highest east of the Rockies.

SOURCE: The Associated Press

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