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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Earthquakes strike again



Ground shattering development


Earthquakes happen all the time.  We hear about earthquakes in California very frequently.  Most people understand the fault line associated with California.  The famous San Andreas fault line has been the subject of many movies including the recent “San Andreas” starring Dwayne Johnson, the very sexy Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario(she has the most stunning eyes).  But what we don't hear often is about earthquakes in Oklahoma.
Earthquakes in Oklahoma are happening more frequently. Today Pawnee,OK was hit by an earthquake that could be felt as far away as Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas to name a few.  Why is Oklahoma having earthquakes?


Whose "Fault" is it?

Oklahoma is the home of 12 fault lines capable of producing earthquakes like the 5.6 that hit recently which is tied for the largest from back in 2011.  Oklahoma is reported to have had nearly 400 small earthquakes last year.  The earthquakes are becoming more frequent and more powerful.  Why now?Some people believe that the earthquakes are directly related to fracking. Fracking is a means of oil extraction that forces a high pressure watery mixture into shale to force the lighter oil out. Fracking has caused massive economic booms in places like Texas and South Dakota.  Fracking isn't a new technology, but drilling techniques have advanced to make it much more profitable.  How can fracking cause earthquakes?
No official studies have been able to conclude that fracking is indeed the cause.  The USGS has not been able to link the two events, but still some groups will issues findings that come up with results that earn them grant money.  



The knowledge gap

We don't know what exactly is causing the quakes, but we can be sure they will continue.  The worst part of an earthquake is there is no way to predict them.  Storm systems that cause hurricanes and Tornados can be tracked and prediction models are accurate enough(which isn't all that accurate) to warn us erring on the side of caution.  Hermine is the latest example. It was supposed to move inland gaining strength over the weekend and instead was downgraded.  Now it is poised to soak the coast and regain its strength.  
The biggest take away is natural disasters are cyclic and not predictable by current models. With all the technology we have today, we don't have the computing power to crunch the data required to accurately predict these devastating events(if only we had optical quantum computers).  There is so much still on this Earth that we don't fully understand, but we sure would like to think we do.

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