Recent Oklahoma earthquake leads to local concern - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Recent Oklahoma earthquake leads to local concern

5.6 magnitude earthquake contributes to the question if disposal wells or fracking are a potential cause (Source: KFDA) 5.6 magnitude earthquake contributes to the question if disposal wells or fracking are a potential cause (Source: KFDA)
Disposal Well sight (Source: KFDA) Disposal Well sight (Source: KFDA)
Texas investing about 4.2 million fracking meters (Source: KFDA) Texas investing about 4.2 million fracking meters (Source: KFDA)
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

Oklahoma's recent earthquake has locals concerned after the shock waves reached area towns.

On Sept. 3. and the 5.6 magnitude earthquake has contributed to the question if disposal wells or fracking are a potential cause.

Texas officials believe it is unlikely for disposal wells to be a major cause or if we are even likely to see an earthquake like this one in our area anytime soon. 

It has yet to be documented if disposal wells could cause an earthquake but officials say geological structures could help determine if an earthquake has the potential to happen.

"Saturday's event is an example of natural phenomenon going on all around us," said Dr. Brian Stump, SMU Seismology Professor. "They may not occur very often so, sometimes we don't think about them every day but the earthquake that did occur on Saturday was a typical earthquake for the central part of the United States."

According to the PPROA Executive Vice President, Judy Stark, it would be rare for hydraulic fracturing to cause an earthquake, but Texas is still taking precaution.

"The state of Texas decided to invest in this possibility of earthquakes and so $4.2 million has gone into a program to set meters around disposal wells and another $2.1 million to continue the study of seismic activity around these wells," said Stark.

Though at this time there has been no clear evidence that disposal wells could cause an earthquake, geological structures can help determine if a town is more likely to see one. 

"Faults can store elastic energy, just like when you stretch a rubber band, that band has energy in it until it breaks," said Stump. "When a fault breaks it will cause an earthquake."

Amarillo does sit on the Amarillo-Wichita Uplift and with this the city and surrounding towns have the potential to see anywhere between 3 to 3.6 magnitude earthquakes once a year.

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