Abstract

The sharp increase in seismicity over a broad region of central Oklahoma has raised concerns regarding the source of the activity and its potential hazard to local communities and energy-industry infrastructure. Efforts to monitor and characterize the earthquake sequences in central Oklahoma are reviewed. Since early 2010, numerous organizations have deployed temporary portable seismic stations in central Oklahoma to record the evolving seismicity. A multiple-event relocation method is applied to produce a catalog of central Oklahoma earthquakes from late 2009 into early 2015. Regional moment tensor (RMT) source parameters were determined for the largest and best-recorded earthquakes. Combining RMT results with relocated seismicity enabled determination of the length, depth, and style of faulting occurring on reactivated subsurface fault systems. It was found that the majority of earthquakes occur on near-vertical, optimally oriented (northeast-southwest and northwest-southeast) strike-slip faults in the shallow crystalline basement. In 2014, 17 earthquakes occurred with magnitudes of 4 or larger. It is suggested that these recently reactivated fault systems pose the greatest potential hazard to the region.

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