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June 30, 2014

Most U.S. quakes occurring in Okla.

NORMAN — Most of the earthquake activity in the United States is occurring in Oklahoma, said Austin Holland, research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey. Oklahoma is having more 3.0 magnitude earthquakes than the Western U.S.

“That is truly remarkable,” he said. Nowhere have seismologists observed such an active swarm of this duration and expanse in an interplate setting.

Hundreds of people brought their concerns about earthquakes Thursday to the sanctuary of Waterloo Baptist Church with dozens of people having to stand in overflow areas.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey participated in the town hall meeting  focusing on the earthquake storms in the central parts of the state and including Edmond and Guthrie. The scientists also teach at the Meuburne College of Energy at the University of Oklahoma.

People complained that incremental damage to their property has occurred. Others called for a halt or moratorium of deep wastewater injection associated with fracking.

State Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, said many residents of his district have asked him to find out what is happening to cause disturbing swarms of earthquakes. Many people have felt the rumble in their homes and property.

“We will follow up with this with an interim study or another legislative study based on the facts, based on what we learn in here,” said Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia.

Murphey and Moore contacted the Corporation Commission, the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, to help share information and arrange for the town hall.

“No amount of cases of induced seismicity have ever come close to the scale of the number of magnitude of earthquakes we’re seeing or the spacial extent over which we are seeing these earthquakes,” Holland said.

Oklahoma’s recent earthquake is unprecedented in recorded history, Holland said. Investigating the cause is made more challenging by the long history of oil and gas exploration in the state, he said.

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