New USGS Forecast Includes Seismic Events Attributable to Human Activities
On March 28, 2016, the United States Geological Survey (“USGS”) published its first projection of seismic risk that includes seismicity potentially attributable to human activities such as fluid injection or extraction. The report, titled the 2016 One-Year Seismic Hazard Forecast for the Central and Eastern United States from Induced and Natural Earthquakes, does not “explore the causes of the increased seismicity, but rather [tries] to find a way to quantify the associated hazard.” Nonetheless, the model that underlies the report took into account the locations of oil and gas plays, sedimentary basins, and wells. The report concludes that areas in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Arkansas face increased seismicity risks due to active injection areas. The report identifies an area spanning north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas, where the injection of produced water is common, as the area most at risk. Read the report in full here.