And they’re caused by oil-production wastewater injected back into the ground!
A sharp earthquake in central Oklahoma last weekend has raised fresh concern about the security of a vast crude oil storage complex, close to the quake’s center, that sits at the crossroads of the nation’s oil pipeline network.
The magnitude 4.5 quake struck Saturday afternoon about three miles northwest of Cushing, roughly midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The town of about 8,000 people is home to the so-called Cushing Hub, a sprawling tank farm that is among the largest oil storage facilities in the world.
Oil pimps in Cushing say it is the largest.
Scientists reported in a paper published online last month that a large earthquake near the storage hub “could seriously damage storage tanks and pipelines.” Saturday’s quake continues a worrisome pattern of moderate quakes, suggesting that a large earthquake is more than a passing concern, the lead author of that study, Daniel McNamara, said in an interview.
“When we see these fault systems producing multiple magnitude 4s, we start to get concerned that it could knock into higher magnitudes,” he said. “Given the number of magnitude 4s here, it’s a high concern.”
…Major tank ruptures could cause serious environmental damage, raise the risk of fire and other disasters and disrupt the flow of oil to refineries nationwide, said Dr. McNamara, a research geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado.
The Cushing quake is among the largest of thousands of temblors that have rocked central and northern Oklahoma in the past five years, largely set off by the injection of oil and gas industry wastes deep into the earth. The watery wastes effectively lubricate cracks, allowing rocks under intense pressure to slip past one another, causing quakes.
The tens of millions of barrels of injected wastewater have helped make Oklahoma the second most seismically active state, behind Alaska. Although quakes have damaged or destroyed buildings and roads and, in a few instances, injured people, regulators do not have the authority to seriously curb waste disposal, and politicians in a state dominated by the energy industry have made no move to give it to them.
The state had three earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater in 2009. Last year, it had 585, and this year’s total exceeds that.
Politicians – and the citizens who elect those politicians – who dedicate their service to lies and those who profit from lies may have lucrative careers for as long as they last. The fools who continue to vote them back into office are leaving their children and grandchildren a heritage of nature thrown directly into imbalance by fossil fuel profiteers.
Sometimes you not only get what you want – you get what you deserve.