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Oklahoma’s induced seismicity strongly linked to wastewater injection depth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Thea Hincks
  • Willy Aspinall
  • Roger Cooke
  • Thomas Gernon
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1255
Number of pages9
Issue number6381
Early online date16 Mar 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Jan 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 16 Mar 2018


The dramatic rise in Oklahoma seismicity since 2009 is due to wastewater injection. The role of injection depth is an open, complex issue, yet critical for hazard assessment and regulation. We developed an advanced Bayesian Network to model joint conditional dependencies between spatial, operational, and seismicity parameters. We found injection depth relative to crystalline basement most strongly correlates with seismic moment release. The joint effects of depth and volume are critical, as injection rate becomes more influential near the basement interface. Restricting injection depths to 200-500 m above basement could reduce annual seismic moment release by a factor of 1.4-2.8. Our approach enables identification of sub-regions where targeted regulation may mitigate effects of induced earthquakes, aiding operators and regulators in wastewater disposal regions.

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via American Association for the Advancement of Science . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Licence: Other


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