Man-made Earthquakes? Aren’t the natural ones enough?

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Man-made Earthquakes? Aren’t the natural ones enough?

Fracking Induced Earthquakes
With Oklahoma facing another clearly manmade earthquake we can’t stop but think why? Areas around the world where fracking is common are seeing more earthquakes. There is more than just a correlation here. Dutch courts have already recognized the link and last year limited fracking activities in the village of Loppersum, where small earthquakes of around magnitude 3.4 started causing damage. Saturday’s magnitude 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma was more than 150 times stronger that those felt in Loppersum. Oklahoma has been seeing more earthquakes with this most recent one being of equal magnitude to the November 2011 quake, we ask ourselves is it worth it? This time, no one died, but they could have. The buildings in the area are generally not prepared for earthquakes of this magnitude and higher. Let’s not forget, “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do.” and with unreinforced masonry buildings still common in Oklahoma, the region is not prepared for these new forces of nature. The “big one” for Oklahoma City doesn’t need to be that large for widespread damage and even catastrophic failure.

As a company that specializes in earthquake protection, we have become distinctly aware that a new market is forming in Oklahoma. As scientists continue to argue whether we’ve entered the Anthropocene, we’re facing the realities of man-made geological hazards. For the first time we are having conversations about protecting buildings, not from nature, but from humanity, it’s worrisome and unsettling. As companies continue to pump wastewater into the more than 4000 wells in Oklahoma, the risks continue to increase. The state has ordered 37 wells closed, which is a step in the right direction but not nearly enough.

Seismic Dampers, isolators and other earthquake protection technologies bear witness to humanity’s respect of nature. They are technological advancements that were developed due to the loss of human life over our millennia of history. As we finally have technologies to protect us, we also have the technology to produce these devastating forces of nature. Let’s use technology responsibly. Just because we can get energy from fracking doesn’t mean that we should.

Let’s all take a cue from the recent earthquake in Oklahoma, maybe the risk isn’t worth the reward.

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