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2016 update on induced earthquakes in the United States

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Abstract

During the past decade people living in numerous locations across the central U.S. experienced many more small to moderate sized earthquakes than ever before. This earthquake activity began increasing about 2009 and peaked during 2015 and into early 2016. For example, prior to 2009 Oklahoma typically experienced 1 or 2 small earthquakes per year with magnitude greater than 3.0 but by 2015 this number rose to over 900 earthquakes per year of that size and over 30 earthquakes greater than 4.0. These earthquakes can cause damage. In 2011 a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck near the town of Prague, Oklahoma on a preexisting fault and caused severe damage to several houses and school buildings. During the past 6 years more than 1500 reports of damaging shaking levels were reported in areas of induced seismicity. This rapid increase and the potential for damaging ground shaking from induced earthquakes caused alarm to about 8 million people living nearby and officials responsible for public safety. They wanted to understand why earthquakes were increasing and the potential threats to society and buildings located nearby.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title 2016 update on induced earthquakes in the United States
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Encyclopedia Britannica
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title 2016 Britannica Book of the Year (A Review of 2015)