EARTHQUAKES IN OKLAHOMA

What We Are Doing

We know that Oklahoma is currently experiencing increased levels of seismicity.  Oklahoma state agencies and stakeholders are actively working towards solutions.

On January 28, 2016 Governor Mary Fallin approved the transfer of nearly $1.4 million in emergency funds to fully fund the requests of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Geological Survey to receive additional support for their research and response to earthquakes.

Click here for a copy of the press release.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission received $387,000 for:

  • Information technology upgrades
  • Two contract geologists, contract clerical worker and geophysicist consultant
  • Senior-level oil and gas attorney

The Oklahoma Geological Survey will receive $1 million and has provided the following summary from OGS Director Dr. Jeremy Boak.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey is very excited to be receiving this additional funding to address a variety of needs related to the increased seismicity here in Oklahoma.  These additional funds will support a collection of projects that will help us:

  • Enhance our seismic array and the analytical tools that track earthquakes,
  • Analyze important trends in the earthquake records in our catalog,
  • Characterize the geologic and reservoir properties of the Arbuckle Group sedimentary rocks and the underlying basement of Oklahoma,
  • Model the interaction of injected produced water with the deep crustal rocks where fault movement results in earthquakes,
  • Reach out to students and teachers as citizen-scientists deploying compact accelerometers in classrooms to measure earthquake intensities,
  • Conduct a workshop on induced seismicity for government, industry, and academic investigators here in Oklahoma to synthesize results and research needs.

We look forward to working with scientists and engineers (and future scientists and engineers) to explore and identify the underlying features of this complex and challenging man-made phenomenon.

The program to be funded will include:

  • Three seismology projects to install additional permanent seismic stations, update the network that connects these stations, and implement a comprehensive geographically referenced database to connect multiple datasets,
  • Three analytical projects to gauge the response of seismicity to regulatory and market forces driving changes in produced water injection, to evaluate redistribution of mass due both to production of oil and gas, and injection of water, and to define subtle spatial and temporal patterns of seismicity,
  • Three multi-disciplinary projects to characterize the properties of the coupled Arbuckle Group-Basement system as a complex fluid reservoir system, to continue identification of important faults, and to relate the geophysical character of the basement to the tectonic forces underlying the earthquake activity,
  • Four projects to develop models of the coupled mechanical and hydrologic behavior of the Arbuckle Group-Basement system that produces the earthquakes,
  • Two outreach projects to install accelerometers in classrooms to monitor earthquake intensity across Oklahoma, and to gather Oklahoma investigators to share research results and define research needs to understand the earthquake patterns and recommend remedial action.

Updated June 10, 2016

OETA Oklahoma News Report Highlights New Technology and Resources Funded by OERB Research Grant and Governor Fallin Emergency Funds to Respond to Earthquakes

A link to the OETA Oklahoma News Report story can be found here.

Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity

The Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity is charged by Governor Fallin with organizing state resources and activities related to Oklahoma’s recent increase in seismic activity. Click on the link above for a list of standing members and related resources.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is the state’s regulatory agency charged with overseeing Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry, including the siting and operation of underground injection wells.   The Corporation Commission has rules and procedures in place for preventing and responding to seismicity associated with disposal well operations.

Oklahoma Geological Survey

The Oklahoma Geological Survey is the state’s research body charged with studying the state’s land, water, mineral, and energy resources.  The OGS actively works with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to share, process and analyze data related to seismic events in the state.

Oklahoma Energy Resources Board

OERB is a state’s agency that conducts environmental restoration of orphaned and abandoned well sites, encourages the wise and efficient use of energy, and promotes energy education.  The agency publishes educational materials related to Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry, including fact sheets addressing the recent rise of seismic events in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Oklahoma Department of Transportation provides a safe, economical and effective transportation network for the people, commerce and communities of Oklahoma.  ODOT is actively updating its protocols for inspecting public transportation infrastructure after seismic events.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against disasters and emergencies.  OEM works with Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through the network of more than 400 local emergency managers.

OEM also maintains, regularly updates and exercises the State Emergency Operations Plan, which includes protocols for responding to earthquake events.

Oklahoma Insurance Department

The Oklahoma Insurance Department is responsible for enforcing the insurance-related laws of the state. Governor Fallin recently approved an emergency rule adopted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department that requires insurance agents in Oklahoma to take continuing education courses in earthquake policy coverage for homeowners.