The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 3, 2014

Solid scientific research needed to explain uptick of Oklahoma earthquakes

ENID, Okla. — It’s a question on everyone’s mind: What’s causing the flurry of earthquakes in Oklahoma?

Our state recorded more than 2,800 quakes last year, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey. When an Okie quake registered a record magnitude of 5.6 in 2011, it got everyone’s attention.

The cause for increased activity has not been proven. Sure, there’s a whole lot of fracking going on, and others have speculated that injection wells could be the cause. Scientifically, we’re still not sure.

“It’s incredibly unusual,” Austin Holland, a research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geologic Survey, told Time magazine. “We’ve had swarms that are similar in nature, but I don’t think we’ve had one with quite the numbers we’ve had.”

This is serious business. As of last November, StateImpact Oklahoma reported that less than 1 percent of state residents had earthquake insurance.

Not surprisingly, the Journal Record in Oklahoma City reports an uptick in inquiries about getting insured. Policies can be affordable, but deductibles are often high (not to mention that coverage can take months of waiting after recent earthquake activity), StateImpact reports.

Our state’s topflight universities should be able to study what’s causing more earthquakes. Tim Sickbert, lab coordinator for Oklahoma State University’s geology department, said OSU is pursuing two paths of monitoring of seismic activity, the Stillwater NewsPress reports.

The public is rightly concerned about the cause of frequent earthquakes in Oklahoma. Lacking concrete information, the rumor mill is fueled by social or political influences exacerbating our fears.

Let’s get solid scientific information to explore what is happening and why.

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