Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination
GEOREF RECORD

Potentially induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, USA; links between wastewater injection and the 2011 Mw 5.7 earthquake sequence

Katie M. Keranen, Heather M. Savage, Geoffrey A. Abers and Elizabeth S. Cochran
Potentially induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, USA; links between wastewater injection and the 2011 Mw 5.7 earthquake sequence
Geology (Boulder) (March 2013) 41 (6): 699-702

Abstract

Significant earthquakes are increasingly occurring within the continental interior of the United States, including five of moment magnitude (M (sub w) ) > or = 5.0 in 2011 alone. Concurrently, the volume of fluid injected into the subsurface related to the production of unconventional resources continues to rise. Here we identify the largest earthquake potentially related to injection, an M (sub w) 5.7 earthquake in November 2011 in Oklahoma. The earthquake was felt in at least 17 states and caused damage in the epicentral region. It occurred in a sequence, with 2 earthquakes of M (sub w) 5.0 and a prolific sequence of aftershocks. We use the aftershocks to illuminate the faults that ruptured in the sequence, and show that the tip of the initial rupture plane is within approximately 200 m of active injection wells and within approximately 1 km of the surface; 30% of early aftershocks occur within the sedimentary section. Subsurface data indicate that fluid was injected into effectively sealed compartments, and we interpret that a net fluid volume increase after 18 yr of injection lowered effective stress on reservoir-bounding faults. Significantly, this case indicates that decades-long lags between the commencement of fluid injection and the onset of induced earthquakes are possible, and modifies our common criteria for fluid-induced events. The progressive rupture of three fault planes in this sequence suggests that stress changes from the initial rupture triggered the successive earthquakes, including one larger than the first.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 41
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Potentially induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, USA; links between wastewater injection and the 2011 Mw 5.7 earthquake sequence
Affiliation: University of Oklahoma, ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, Norman, OK, United States
Pages: 699-702
Published: 20130326
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 20
Accession Number: 2013-035341
Categories: SeismologyEnvironmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2013191
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch map
N35°27'00" - N35°55'60", W97°07'60" - W96°37'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA, United StatesU. S. Geological Survey, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201322
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal