Editorial: Earthquake activity is unsettling

Oklahoma is having earthquakes and they are getting more intense.

The most recent was a 5.0 magnitude quake centered in Cushing on November 6.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission responded by shutting down saltwater disposal wells and restricting disposal volumes in others in a 700-square-mile area around Cushing.

There is more work being planned.

Research has been focused on saltwater disposal wells that take high volumes of water produced along with oil and pump them into the Arbuckle formation, which is the deepest sedimentary rock layer underlying a lot of Oklahoma. Wells produce underground salt water along with oil and natural gas. It is heavy with salt and other chemicals.

In response to previous earthquakes, the OCC has shut down disposal wells and restricted volumes.

The state’s largest earthquakes have been near Prague, Fairview, Pawnee and Cushing.

The commission already has addressed most of the saltwater disposal wells in Cushing. Some have been shut down and others have been plugged back to shallower disposal rock zones.

Earthquakes are nearly impossible to predict. Shutting down the injection wells has slowed the number of the smaller quakes.

The quake was felt in Tulsa and as far away as Kansas City.

State Insurance Commissioner John Doak recommends that homeowners get earthquake insurance on their houses.

It may take awhile for the earthquake activity in Oklahoma to subside.