OU Professor Gives Man-Made Earthquake Theory - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

OU Professor Gives Man-Made Earthquake Theory

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A new study suggests the 5.7 magnitude earthquake in 2011, might have been the end result of oil drilling. The study out in the journal Geology, says Oklahoma's biggest recorded earthquake is linked to the disposal of wastewater from oil production. 

The research was done but the University of Oklahoma, Columbia University and the U.S. Geological Survey. One of the co-authors, Dr. Katie Keranen, says they used meters to judge the small aftershocks at the locations here Prague. 

"What we found is that the first of the three earthquakes in the sequence is tied very closely to an injection well," says Keranen. 

Dr. Katie Keranen says this report looks at the water coming out, not the water being put back in. 

"They are producing oil and gas and when they are producing oil and gas from the rocks a lot of water comes out with it. So, they have to separate out the hydrocarbons and then the water has to be disposed of because it's not what they want," says Keranen. 

Keranen says this study could lead them to finding more well sites where this is happening and that will help Oklahoma. But she does say that a very small amount of these well sites cause earthquakes. 

Research scientists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey Observatory in Leonard say they still believe this earthquake happened because of natural causes.

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