US: The USGS department of the US on Monday released maps showing potential dangers that can cause from human-induced earthquakes. The maps specifically show Oklahoma in the virtual crosshairs of these potential dangers. The report further says, around seven million people in the United States live in areas that are at a risk of damage through human-induced earthquakes.
The USGS has put out earthquake hazard maps for years, but those maps focus on natural earthquakes. This outlook focuses on induced seismicity.
"By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.," said Mark Petersen, Chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project in a news release. "This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced."
We should not forget that in last few years, Oklahoma has received some severe earthquakes. Scientists say the increase in quakes is a direct result of a massive increase in wastewater injection as a part of the fracking process. However, the Governor Mary Fallin says, the data used to prepare these maps was old and didn't reflect the actions taken by the state.
"Recent declines in produced wastewater disposal in Oklahoma are not reflected in the USGS map," Fallin said in a news release. "This gives us even a stronger base in going forward and gives state regulators further justification for what they are doing."
The state's emergenncy management director says the state is prepared for anything that might come its way.
"In Oklahoma, we recognize the importance of being prepared for all types of disasters that could affect the state, including earthquakes," director Albert Ashwood said. "The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is reviewing the USGS report to determine how it may aid our catastrophic earthquake planning efforts.
However, it is important to note that for emergency management, the cause of a disaster is not as critical as the outcome of the event and how it impacts our residents, infrastructure and communities. Preparing for, responding to, recovering from and mitigating against those outcomes will continue to be our focus."
The USGS said the states at highest risk of induced seismic activity are, from highest to lowest: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas