When you think of earthquakes, you probably don't immediately think of Oklahoma, but perhaps you should. In the past 30 days, Missouri's neighbor to the southwest has experienced 200 measurable earthquakes, but they're not all earthquakes.

As a self-professed earthquake nerd, I check the USGS site multiple times every day as I frequently keep an eye on what the New Madrid Seismic Zone is up to. What has caught my eye recently are the large number of quakes not in Missouri, but in Oklahoma. This USGS map shows the 200 that have been recorded in the past 30 days alone.


If you look at the map closely, you'll see diamonds instead of circles. The circles are earthquakes confirmed by the USGS. The diamonds are...something else. They are quarry blasts that are picked up by the earthquake monitors.

Why is Oklahoma having so many earthquakes?

This is a controversial question. The USGS blames the many Sooner State quakes on wastewater disposal. They define that as "fluid waste from oil and gas production is injected deep underground far below ground water or drinking water aquifers". Many point the finger at the oil industry and the drilling that's happening in Oklahoma on these many quakes. The USGS says not so fast. They say only a fraction of the 150,000 injection wells cause quakes that should be a concern for the public.

It's not entirely a safe practice as there was a documented 5.8 Oklahoma quake on September 23, 2016 hat was the result of wastewater disposal that did damage.

No matter what the actual cause, Oklahoma is shaking a lot now and one has to wonder if a bigger quake is imminent.

Simulation Shows the Terror of a 7.7 New Madrid Quake in Missouri

Gallery Credit: EarthquakeSim via YouTube

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