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Oklahoma state seismologist talks about Friday's 4.2 quake

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 23:42:33-05

TULSA, Okla.  — A 4.2 magnitude earthquake occurred at 11:48 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 in north central Oklahoma between Covington and Lucien.

"All of this activity is concentrated in a cluster where we've observed seismicity in the last 30 days," State Seismologist Dr. Jake Walter told 2 Works for You.

Dr. Walter and his team at the University of Oklahoma have been keeping a close eye on an area between Covington and Lucien for awhile now.

"Now, most of this is concentrated in a broader section of north central Oklahoma where we've traditionally seen seismicity associated with waste water disposal in the area," he said.

Dr. Walter and other seismologists have been doing a lot of research to link the connection between waste water injections and the subsequent earthquakes along fault zones.

"That water has acted as science has told us to re-animate those active fault zones, so they produce some of the larger damaging earthquakes in the last decade," Dr. Walter explained.

With their continued observations of our activity, they've actually seen a positive trend.

"In a general sense the waste water disposal has declined in the past 4-5 years to levels around [the year] 2010," Dr. Walter said. "So there's been a decrease in waste water disposal across Oklahoma and we've seen a huge decrease in the seismicity."

Dr. Walter said we only had one 4.0 or larger quake in 2020 and that the largest one in the state's history was in September 2016. That was a 5.8 near Pawnee.


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