A couple of seismic disturbances have jostled Oklahoma, today. The USGS reported an initial 4.6 magnitude disruption just south of the Kansas border, near a petroleum well site.
This quake is estimated to be nearly 5 miles below the surface, near Medford, OK.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has been regulating the amount of saltwater waste that producers can force back down some older well sites. This policy came after strong outrage from residents who suffered widespread structural damages from thousands of moderate tremors occurred in a few years prior to a Labor Day 5.9 quake destroyed several homes, shops and pavements.
Oklahoma's Arbuckle Formation is a natural geological 'dome' which sits a few miles below central Oklahoma. It's considered an ideal 'septic tank' for producers across the central US to dump the residual saltwater that comes up from crude oil deposits locked miles below the earth's surface.
We're awaiting a report from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, updating the status of today's events and what impact this may have on policy for how much and how quickly the state's petroleum industry can use central Oklahoma as a wastewater landfill.
Injection wells serve two purposes for the Oil Industry.
Many deeper wells inevitably draw some saltwater up along with crude oil. Other methods of disposing saltwater are very expensive. This injection process allows Oklahoma producers to remain competitive with foreign oil producers.
Let's see if the Corporation Commission has the balls to hold another public event to answer questions about this, or if they'll just sit in their Ivory tower and issue emails?