Earthquake?

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Jostate

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Water disposal operations causing earthquakes. Now there’s some real (fake) science.


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I don't know anything about the science, but something caused a clear uptick in earthquakes around much of Oklahoma, people who know about this stuff debated it and regulated it, and the earthquakes dramatically slowed. Without understanding the details, I have to side with the hippies on this one.
 

SiggyPoke

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I don't know anything about the science, but something caused a clear uptick in earthquakes around much of Oklahoma, people who know about this stuff debated it and regulated it, and the earthquakes dramatically slowed. Without understanding the details, I have to side with the hippies on this one.
I read it was due to an uptick in wastewater injection practices.
 
Sep 29, 2011
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Water disposal operations causing earthquakes. Now there’s some real (fake) science.


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I don't know anything about the science, but something caused a clear uptick in earthquakes around much of Oklahoma, people who know about this stuff debated it and regulated it, and the earthquakes dramatically slowed. Without understanding the details, I have to side with the hippies on this one.
No real science. Downhole water disposal has been occurring for decades in and around most significant oil fields for decades.


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Jostate

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No real science. Downhole water disposal has been occurring for decades in and around most significant oil fields for decades.


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So what changed for about a decade there when the earthquakes surged? I'm not buying the naturally occurring argument on this one.
 
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So what changed for about a decade there when the earthquakes surged? I'm not buying the naturally occurring argument on this one.
Horizontal wells pump a much higher volume of fluid than conventional wells do. I think that was the difference between the last decade and oil drilling in the past. I'm no expert but I know with water wells, volume depends on how porous the material the water has to move through to get to the well casing. Seems to me it would work the same going the other way. Pump too fast and pressure will build.
 
Sep 29, 2011
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Horizontal wells pump a much higher volume of fluid than conventional wells do. I think that was the difference between the last decade and oil drilling in the past. I'm no expert but I know with water wells, volume depends on how porous the material the water has to move through to get to the well casing. Seems to me it would work the same going the other way. Pump too fast and pressure will build.
Pressure is the key. By law, all disposal wells inject at a pressure less than 80% of frac gradient. The frac gradient is the pressure at which the sub-surface material fractures at a given depth. Thus it is impossible for injected disposal water to fracture the rock. If the pressure is not high enough to fracture the rock, how could it displace the rock (ie cause an earthquake)?

The horizontal aspect of injection is just to expose the well-bore to more linear feet of the target injection horizon, thus giving you the capability to dispose more water over a larger aerial extent. But the end result of the sub-surface pressure regime is the same as if you injected in a vertical well.
 
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Nov 6, 2010
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Pressure is the key. By law, all disposal wells inject at a pressure less than 80% of frac gradient. The frac gradient is the pressure at which the sub-surface material fractures at a given depth. Thus it is impossible for injected disposal water to fracture the rock. If the pressure is not high enough to fracture the rock, how could it displace the rock (ie cause an earthquake)?

The horizontal aspect of injection is just to expose the well-bore to more linear feet of the target injection horizon, thus giving you the capability to dispose more water over a larger aerial extent. But the end result of the sub-surface pressure regime is the same as if you injected in a vertical well.
I'm just speculating here, but maybe:

1. The law wasn't always being followed?
2. Water contributes to the shifting in other ways besides just fracturing the rock, such as lubricating or dissolving/eroding certain layers.
 
Sep 29, 2011
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Breckenridge, CO
Pressure is the key. By law, all disposal wells inject at a pressure less than 80% of frac gradient. The frac gradient is the pressure at which the sub-surface material fractures at a given depth. Thus it is impossible for injected disposal water to fracture the rock. If the pressure is not high enough to fracture the rock, how could it displace the rock (ie cause an earthquake)?

The horizontal aspect of injection is just to expose the well-bore to more linear feet of the target injection horizon, thus giving you the capability to dispose more water over a larger aerial extent. But the end result of the sub-surface pressure regime is the same as if you injected in a vertical well.
I'm just speculating here, but maybe:

1. The law wasn't always being followed?
2. Water contributes to the shifting in other ways besides just fracturing the rock, such as lubricating or dissolving/eroding certain layers.
Have not heard of any unlawful disposal activities.

Oil and water have been and are plentiful along a gozillion faults, especially in Oklahoma. Doesn’t seem to be the cause of earthquakes heretofore.

Injected water does not move at a velocity sufficient to meaningfully erode subsurface structures.

And before somebody suggests the extra weight or burden of the injected water might be the source of energy to cause an earthquake, consider the following. How many man-made lakes are there around the world? And how much extra burden do these lakes put on the sub-surface faults? Answer, multiples more than injected water. Then how about the shifting tides? Same answer. And in either case, were or are earthquakes a problem? Don’t recall a rash of earthquakes when they filled Lake Arcadia.

Oklahoma has one of the worlds most fractured subsurface environments. Fractured by historic earthquake activity that has occurred over eons. Why would it ever be surprising that an earthquake would occur in a region that historically has been seismically vey active?


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jobob85

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Through late December, the survey reported 196 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or stronger, down from 302 in 2017, 623 in 2016 and a record 903 in 2015. From 2008 to 2013, the state averaged 44 earthquakes of that size every year. And from 1976 to 2007, Oklahoma averaged about one quake of magnitude 3.0 or more each year.Jan 1, 2019
AP News › ...
Oklahoma earthquakes decrease for 3rd straight year - AP News

https://apnews.com/216ddc7f8391467c90bd526696beb4f3
 

steross

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Through late December, the survey reported 196 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or stronger, down from 302 in 2017, 623 in 2016 and a record 903 in 2015. From 2008 to 2013, the state averaged 44 earthquakes of that size every year. And from 1976 to 2007, Oklahoma averaged about one quake of magnitude 3.0 or more each year.Jan 1, 2019
AP News › ...
Oklahoma earthquakes decrease for 3rd straight year - AP News

https://apnews.com/216ddc7f8391467c90bd526696beb4f3
From your article:
State seismologist Jake Walter told the Tulsa World he’s optimistic the downward trend will continue.......

Walter said scientists remain unsure of the precise physics of what causes induced seismicity, including how much wastewater is required to produce a quake.

Pretty wild that the state seismologist isn't sure but the definitive answer (it doesn't have any effect and the regulators actions and the decrease must just be happenstance) is given above right here on op.com!
 
Nov 6, 2010
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Have not heard of any unlawful disposal activities.

Oil and water have been and are plentiful along a gozillion faults, especially in Oklahoma. Doesn’t seem to be the cause of earthquakes heretofore.

Injected water does not move at a velocity sufficient to meaningfully erode subsurface structures.

And before somebody suggests the extra weight or burden of the injected water might be the source of energy to cause an earthquake, consider the following. How many man-made lakes are there around the world? And how much extra burden do these lakes put on the sub-surface faults? Answer, multiples more than injected water. Then how about the shifting tides? Same answer. And in either case, were or are earthquakes a problem? Don’t recall a rash of earthquakes when they filled Lake Arcadia.

Oklahoma has one of the worlds most fractured subsurface environments. Fractured by historic earthquake activity that has occurred over eons. Why would it ever be surprising that an earthquake would occur in a region that historically has been seismically vey active?


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Well, it is comforting to know you haven't heard of any unlawful activities, but wouldn't that be the nature of such activities? That will be the end of my argument on this subject because I admit I am wholly ignorant.
 
Sep 29, 2011
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Through late December, the survey reported 196 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or stronger, down from 302 in 2017, 623 in 2016 and a record 903 in 2015. From 2008 to 2013, the state averaged 44 earthquakes of that size every year. And from 1976 to 2007, Oklahoma averaged about one quake of magnitude 3.0 or more each year.Jan 1, 2019
AP News › ...
Oklahoma earthquakes decrease for 3rd straight year - AP News

https://apnews.com/216ddc7f8391467c90bd526696beb4f3
From your article:
State seismologist Jake Walter told the Tulsa World he’s optimistic the downward trend will continue.......

Walter said scientists remain unsure of the precise physics of what causes induced seismicity, including how much wastewater is required to produce a quake.

Pretty wild that the state seismologist isn't sure but the definitive answer (it doesn't have any effect and the regulators actions and the decrease must just be happenstance) is given above right here on op.com!
I’d be willing to bet the state seismologist doesn’t have extensive reservoir engineering experience or training. A skill set necessary to understand, study and evaluate subsurface fluid movement.

As stated several posts ago, there is no science (I’m aware of) to the “water disposal is causing earthquakes” theory. Just people correlating seismic activity to injection activity. Since the majority of the “irregular” seismic activity occurred during Obama’s reign, I’m looking in that direction for a possible answer.

Hell, we’ve detonated nuclear bombs underground without causing earthquakes.

FWIW, I heard the other day they are now theorizing solar flare activity is causing earthquakes.


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Jostate

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I’d be willing to bet the state seismologist doesn’t have extensive reservoir engineering experience or training. A skill set necessary to understand, study and evaluate subsurface fluid movement.

As stated several posts ago, there is no science (I’m aware of) to the “water disposal is causing earthquakes” theory. Just people correlating seismic activity to injection activity. Since the majority of the “irregular” seismic activity occurred during Obama’s reign, I’m looking in that direction for a possible answer.

Hell, we’ve detonated nuclear bombs underground without causing earthquakes.

FWIW, I heard the other day they are now theorizing solar flare activity is causing earthquakes.


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I don't know anything about the science behind it, but when I hear hoofbeats I think horses not zebras. Something appeared to be different for about a decade there.
 

CPTNQUIRK

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I’d be willing to bet the state seismologist doesn’t have extensive reservoir engineering experience or training. A skill set necessary to understand, study and evaluate subsurface fluid movement.

As stated several posts ago, there is no science (I’m aware of) to the “water disposal is causing earthquakes” theory. Just people correlating seismic activity to injection activity. Since the majority of the “irregular” seismic activity occurred during Obama’s reign, I’m looking in that direction for a possible answer.

Hell, we’ve detonated nuclear bombs underground without causing earthquakes.

FWIW, I heard the other day they are now theorizing solar flare activity is causing earthquakes.


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I still haven’t seen you address the suspected method of induced seismicity. That theory is the produced water injected into the Arbuckle formation escapes out of the base of said formation and enters naturally occurring fractures in the basement granite, thereby lubricating the fractures allowing them to move. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure or volume, just enough to lubricate the basement granite faults. The Arbuckle, a naturally occurring limestone, Is full of fractures itself so it can be a direct path to the granite. That is why, before the ban against permitting of new Arbuckle injection or disposal wells, there had to be a 200 ft gap between the deepest entry point for disposed water and the base of the Arbuckle. I’m surprised you didn’t know this since it has been out there for a few years.
 

CPTNQUIRK

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Gumbo must be drinking tonight. But he sure can talk out his ass about things he knows nothing about.
When he says that a seismologist doesn’t know anything about reservo engineering, he is leading the conversation astray. We are talking about the movement of rocks underground which is a seismologist‘s specialty. I would guess that he doesn’t understand the concept of a team of scientists from different areas of expertise working on a problem, either. At least that is what it looks like to me.
 

OSUMIKE17

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As stated several posts ago, there is no science (I’m aware of) to the “water disposal is causing earthquakes” theory. Just people correlating seismic activity to injection activity. Since the majority of the “irregular” seismic activity occurred during Obama’s reign, I’m looking in that direction for a possible answer.
“There’s no science to water disposal causing earthquakes!

But you know what there is science behind? A good Obama conspiracy theory!”