The earth is shaking in Oklahoma. But why?


I’m not a seismologist, but it seems to me that the stress is going to build up along the fault lines regardless, and it’s better to release it in a lot of little earthquakes like this than to let it build up until we get another New Madrid whopper all at once. No?

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A side note to preempt comments regarding the comparison to California quakes. Yes the quakes here are much lower on the Richter scale, however our infrastructure is not equipped to deal with these relatively small quakes.

“What the frack?”

Or put another way, “What! The frack!”


Can we please bring this technology to California?

We’re set up to handle an endless stream 5’s. It the occasional 8 the gives us the willies.


It must be teh gheys.

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Because the magnitude scale is logarithmic, you would need to have a whole lot of magnitude 5 earthquakes to release the energy of a magnitude 8. A single magnitude increase in earthquake size equates to 32-fold increase in released energy. So to release the energy of a single magnitude 8 earthquake, you would need to induce ~32,000 magnitude 5 earthquakes.

Each magnitude 5 earthquake only takes a couple seconds to rupture, but the shaking can last 20-30 seconds. So if our magnitude 5 Earthquake Inducing Machine was set to trigger those earthquakes sequentially, and wait until the shaking stopped before starting the next one, there would be about a week of continuous shaking. Don’t forget your dramamine.

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Proof the bible-ists are wrong; the Elder Gods are coming up through Oklahoma, OK?

We are seeing the same problem in Texas.

The commission actually claimed it was looking for a seismologist to examine drilling sites. A month gone by and they still haven’t managed to find one…

Billy Caldwell, a geologist who has spent 50 years working for energy companies evaluating wells Texas was actually at the hearing. His take is that the problem is directly linked to fracking.

Me, I blame Edward James Olmos.

You can’t throw a rock in Texas without hitting a seismologist.


UT Austin is actually 6th ranked in the nation for their school of Geophysics and Seismology.


I wholly agree with the premise of this information, Oklahoma does indeed have many, many faults.


… and the land sank down, and the ocean hurried in, and we lost a fifth of our geography …
… more than 14 million souls found their way to Heavens’ rolls in the forming of the Great Nebraska Sea …

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“there would be about a week of continuous shakin”

Nice analysis. Thanks.

Let’s take your math to completion for the San Andreas Fault. The San Andreas has a recurrence interval of 140-160 years and apparently a maximum earthquake size less than 8 ( both the 1906 San Francisco and the 1857 Fort Tejon quakes were magnitude 7.9)

By your numbers, a week of mild shaking would make the San Andreas “safe” for the next 150 years.

I am certain that California’s engineers and first responders would gladly sign up for a week for continuous “fives” if, in return, we could declare the San Andreas “safe” for the next 150 years. Remember, any given “five” is felt over a much smaller area than an “eight”, so no one locale would experience your “week of shaking.” It’d be more like “hours of shaking” , after which that fault would “safe” for decades to come.

Even better, and closer to my original remark, would be replacing that infrequent “monster” magnitude eight earthquake with a modest modest magnitude 5 earthquake somewhere in California ever other day. Indeed, Southern California experiences a few magnitude 5 earthquakes in a typical year, and no one seems to mind too much.

Last I studied this (and I admit it’s been awhile), the dangerous faults were those with “sticky” sections, where great strain could build up. Faults that were “smoother” with more frequent, smaller earthquakes were considered less dangerous.

The strain builds inexorably along California’s faults; that stored energy will be released. The only question is “how?” As your numbers indicate, numerous small quakes are preferable.

Thanks for helping out.


Oklahoma is the go-to place for fictional middle of nowhere. The Asgardians landed there. First Contact with a Klingon was there.

Isn’t that a Joe Haldeman short story?

Clearly, you are not a seismologist. Otherwise you would not talk such rubbish. That’s not how it works. Inform yourself before you form opinions on science.

They do not use the Richter scale in Oklahoma, or anywhere for that matter. Glad to know you are so well informed.

Hoho, what gave it away oh wise one? Was it teh part wherein the words “I’m not a seismologist” somehow appeared before ye?

BTW just a query but what information does one have before any opinion on science forms according to this system you require?

I can’t seem to grow any new scientists using your formula? I tried tightening their bonds & putting them in dark places, but alas, no new growth.


It’s noticeable that you were dismissed for not being a scientist, but no actual scientific knowledge was offered to address your ignorance.