Fracking quakes-It’s time for a focused analysis of the recent temblors in Oklahoma

While FrackingData.org provides fracking and earthquake-centric datasets suitable for most any citizen-scientist or analyst to consume, it does so with a bend towards the generic.  After the latest significant magnitude 5.0 earthquake to hit Oklahoma near the town of Cushing at or about 7:44 PM on November 6, 2016, as well as the magnitude 5.8 earthquake to hit 8 miles northeast of Pawnee on September 3, 2016, I’ve decided to apply my data analysis and mapping skills to making focused datasets concentrating on the State of Oklahoma’s earthquakes and underground injection wells.

When the State of Kansas experienced fracking-operation related earthquakes, reports were that they reduced the volume of wastewater injected into their underground disposal wells, whereas sources have reported that the State of Oklahoma initially changed not the volume of the wastewater disposed, but the depths at which it was injected.  Therefore, it would seem beneficial if a review of the practices of both states were undertaken, as well as any accrued benefits.

With the preceding in mind, I posit the following:

  • Pull all magnitude 0.0 and above earthquakes,from 1898 to present, from the NCEDC website.
  • Reverse-geocode the aforementioned earthquakes, adding the country, state, county, and nearest city/village in the process.
  • Locate the oil well location datasets for the states of Oklahoma and Kansas, if such are available.
  • Locate the underground injection well datasets for the states of Oklahoma and Kansas, if such are available.
  • Extract, transform, and load (ETL) the aforementioned oil and injection well datasets into a standardized layout suitable for singular and multiple state analyses.
  • Locate the volume of wastewater injection datasets for both states, if such exist.
  • ETL the volume of wastewater injection datasets into a standardized layout suitable for singular and multiple state analyses.
  • Publish the subsequent datasets, along with the methodology used to ETL them, for use by the fracking data analysis community.
  • Produce a step-by-step guide of the subsequent analyses, complete with SQL or source code, as an example of using the datasets for research.
  • Submit my study(ies) to the State of Oklahoma as well as various media outlets for their use or commentary, whichever is more appropriate based upon the nature of the receiving entity.

Please note that I’ll post my progress on the bullet points listed above, as well as build out a “living document” of my adventures in doing so at FrackingData.org’s sister site: FrackingData.info.

In the meantime, I hope that no loss of life occurs due to the continued practice of wastewater injection into underground wells.  That being said, given the State of Oklahoma’s economic dependence upon oil as a means of income and its reluctance to date in reining its activities, I fear that loss of life will be inevitable.  “Loss of life” seems such an abstract phrase, especially when it appears in print, but given that I’ve experienced its direct effects more than once, I can assure all that might read this post that it is deeply personal and most certainly not abstract to those that encounter it on a first-hand basis.

Khepry Quixote
7 November 2016

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