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Oklahoma Seismologist Discusses Earthquakes With Other Experts

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On Monday, he presented some of his research to other experts in the field at the National Academies of Science. Among other things, he talked to his audience about the recent series of damaging quakes in Love County. On Monday, he presented some of his research to other experts in the field at the National Academies of Science. Among other things, he talked to his audience about the recent series of damaging quakes in Love County.
WASHINGTON -

Many of you felt the ground moving over the weekend as multiple earthquakes were recorded.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported nearly 20 earthquakes near Edmond, Jones and Spencer. Then Sunday night, a 3.3 magnitude quake hit near Edmond. No reports of any major damage.

11/2/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Geological Survey Records 16 Quakes Around OKC

It just so happens that the person who's been monitoring all the earthquakes in Oklahoma was in Washington on Monday, giving a talk on his research, and he talked about what could be causing them all.

Austin Holland came to the Oklahoma Geological Survey at OU four years ago, just after Oklahoma started experiencing what he says has been an 80-fold increase in seismic activity.

On Monday, he presented some of his research to other experts in the field at the National Academies of Science. Among other things, he talked to his audience about the recent series of damaging quakes in Love County.

Earthquakes, he theorizes, are tied to a nearby disposal well that had just started operating. And he discussed a proposal News 9 first reported last week to determine that with scientific certainty, where, with the Corporation Commission's approval, that well would begin operating again at a low level monitor for quakes, and determine with scientific certainty if the two are connected.

As for whether the state's four-year long earthquake swarm has been triggered by injection wells, Holland is doubtful.

"It is possible, but we have to get to some pretty remarkable sort of. Examples where we somehow have hit that straw that broke that camel's back sort of thing, and it's possible we got there," Holland said.

Holland says it's been theorized that we could reach a sort of drilling tipping point where all this seismic activity would be triggered, but he says there's a lot more work to do before he can say that's what's happened in Oklahoma.

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