OCC: New fault line leads to additional actions after 5.8 magnitude earthquake
PAWNEE, Okla. – After researchers upgraded an earthquake that shook the Midwest, an Oklahoma agency says it is taking additional steps to prevent further damage.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that a 5.6 magnitude earthquake had rattled the area around Pawnee.
The quake was felt by people all across the state and even in other states.
A few days later, the organization announced that the quake had been upgraded to a 5.8 magnitude, making it the largest earthquake in recent Oklahoma history.
In response to the quake, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission told disposal well operators within 725 square mile area around the location of quake to shut down their wells. Initially, it affected 37 injection wells.
On Monday, the Corporation Commission announced that it is taking further action in the Pawnee area after learning about a new fault line in the area.
Officials say the aftershocks from the 5.8 magnitude quake defined a new fault line.
The OCC says they are now focusing on an area with 67 disposal wells in 1,116 square miles.
The corporation says 32 wells will cease operations, while the others will need to reduce their injection wells by 40,000 barrels a day.
Officials say there are 14 wells that were initially assigned to shut down injections but will be able to resume injections now.
Tim Baker, the director of the Oil & Gas Division of the OCC, says the findings of a new fault has caused them to shift their emphasis on other wells, meaning the risk is lower to the south. For that reason, he says those wells are allowed to go back online at a reduced level.
Researchers say they hope these actions will reduce the seismicity in the area.