The evidence establishing that the oil and gas industry is causing earthquakes grew much stronger last week, as two scientific papers clarified exactly how human activity is driving the swarm of quakes that has afflicted Oklahoma for the past six years.
For decades, earthquakes were rare in the central US. Since the 1970’s, two dozen quakes over magnitude 3.0 shook the region in an average year and larger quakes were even more rare.
But since 2009, right when the drilling industry’s wastewater production started spiking, the number of earthquakes has been skyrocketing, with 688 quakes that size hitting the region in 2014 — and 2015 is on track to be even more seismically active.
This means, Oklahoma has been hit by more quakes in the past year and a half than were felt in the entire 36 year-span from 1973 through 2008.