The tornado vs. earthquake debate has always been a source of conversation between Okies and Californians —
I just don’t see how you can live where:
A) giant vacuum cleaner storms can scoop you and your homes up into the sky, or
B) the ground can just start shaking and collapse your whole town
Thankfully, the oil and gas fracking boom has given Oklahoma just a little taste of the California experience by increasing the size and frequency of earthquakes in the Sooner State.
When the Seismological Society of America says that fracking earthquakes are a real thing, then it’s a good bet that they are. The annual SSA meeting last Thursday featured a daylong session on “Induced Seismicity” that featured new research indicating that oil and gas fracking, and the practice of disposing wastewater underground, can alter the character of an existing fault.
As of last month, in Oklahoma alone more than 100 3.0-and-up earthquakes have been recorded. The total between 1967 and 2000 was only 21. This recent increase jumps out from any statistical noise like a group of Westboro Baptist protesters at a military funeral.
A study by Canada’s Western University in Ontario noted that “the hazard from induced seismicity can overwhelm the hazard from pre-existing natural seismicity, increasing the risk to structures that were originally designed for regions of low to moderate seismic activity”, the term infrastructure including dams, nuclear power plants, underground pipelines and other sorts of high-impact damage multipliers.
I’m not sure if we could match “Sharknado” for it’s California charm, but I could see “Meth-Quake” giving it a run for it’s money.
Yeah, the Feds take down a major clandestine lab in central Oklahoma and decide to dispose of all the toxic chemical slurry in an injection well. This triggers the Big One and it spews mutant-inducing methamphetamine residue out of every crack in the ground! Try to imagine the trailer below with Charlton Heston in meth-mouth dentures, the actors with Oklahoma regional dialects and all the extras gibbering and running really fast!