Since 2010, the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has grown exponentially. While the state used to average about one or two earthquakes a year equaling a magnitude of 3.0 or more, the state suffered 62 temblors registering that magnitude or higher in 2018 alone. All in all, the state has experienced 2,724 earthquakes registering at least magnitude 3.0 over the last eight years leading to a plethora of Oklahoma fracking earthquake lawsuits.
Most of these quakes have been caused by wastewater from fracking activities being injected deep into subterranean rock formations deep in the earth. And while regulators have implemented limitations on the amount of wastewater that can be injected to reduce the number of earthquakes, they are still occurring albeit at a lesser rate.
The largest earthquake in Oklahoma history occurred in 2016 when a 5.8 magnitude quake shook Pawnee and surrounding areas. That quake occurred after injection limits were established. Experts say that while limiting the amount of water being injected is good, it may not be enough.
How Wastewater Injection Causes Quakes
Typically, wastewater is injected into wells drilled into the sedimentary rock deep underground near what scientists call the basement – a layer of granite where most fault lines are. It is believed the water lubricates the fault and decreases the amount of pressure that is holding it together, making it easier for a temblor to occur.
Some researchers say that the activities of energy companies and the movement of these fault lines are a complex interplay that includes how permeable the rock is, the orientation of fault lines, and the depth of the layers of rock. As companies move to injecting into more shallow rock formations, researchers are studying the results. They say that shallower injection wells shouldn’t cause new earthquakes, but it can be hard to tell if a trembler occurs as part of past activities or because of new.
We Can Help
If your property has sustained damaged from injection well activity, contact one of our Oklahoma earthquake attorneys today. You may be eligible for significant compensation for the damage your property has sustained.