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Oklahoma rattled by increase in earthquakes

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By USA Today
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 8:12 p.m.

Oklahoma, a state known more for tornadoes than seismic shifts, is becoming all too familiar with earthquakes.

In the week that ended on Saturday, 48 quakes larger than the magnitude of 2.5 struck, said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. In the past month, there have been 157 quakes larger than magnitude 2.5.

“We've never seen anything like this in Oklahoma,” Caruso said.

The recent shaking has rattled residents' nerves — and has led to speculation and debates about what's behind the quakes. Some people have taken to social media and public forums, contending that hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and the deep-injection wells used for disposal of fracking wastewater could be causing the uptick.

A Oklahoma Geological Survey report in February says it “has not ruled out that some earthquakes may have a relationship to oil and gas activities such as water disposal/injection, and examining these issues remains a major focus of ongoing research.”

Yet the report adds that “the majority, but not all, of the recent earthquakes appear to be the result of natural stresses, since they are consistent with the regional Oklahoma natural stress field.”

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