USGS: Wastewater disposal likely caused magnitude 5.1 earthquake in February
(KTUL) -- New research from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests wastewater disposal was the cause of a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Oklahoma in February.
The Feb. 13 quake was centered about 32 miles northwest of Fairview, Oklahoma, according to the USGS. It was the third most powerful earthquake in recent Oklahoma history.
According to the release from the USGS, February's earthquake "occurred southwest of a group of high-rate wastewater disposal wells greater than 12 kilometers away."
”The fact that seismicity is rather limited near the high-rate wells while the Fairview sequence occurred at a relatively larger distance from these wells, shows us the critical role preexisting, though possibly unknown, fault structures play in inducing large events,” said Dr. William Yeck, a USGS scientist and lead author of the study.
The magnitude 5.1 earthquake was the most powerful in Oklahoma since 2011 before a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Pawnee on Sept. 3. Wastewater injection's potential role in the Pawnee quake is still under investigation.