In my last post, I wrote about how long-suffering California is having a good start to the water year as weather patterns have changed and so far, ample rainfall has fallen across the Golden State. A series of powerful storms this weekend and continuing this week has already caused flooding and widespread damage across parts of California. In Sacramento, Monday marked the first time in ten years that officials opened the Sacramento Weir to divert floodwaters to the Yolo Bypass and prevent further damage downstream. Strong winds also toppled the iconic Pioneer Cabin Tree, a hollowed-out sequoia large enough for cars to drive through. Further “atmospheric river” storms are expected to hit across the state as the week continues.
In the first part of my series on earthquakes and fracking in Oklahoma, I wrote about the correlation between hydraulic fracturing activity in the state and the increased frequency of earthquakes. As more injection wells came online in the state to dispose of the produced fluid from fracking operations, the state saw a vast increase in the number of earthquakes, primarily centered around north-central Oklahoma. While scientists are still determining why the earthquake activity is centered in certain parts of the state, they are almost certain that there is at least some correlation between injection well operations and increased seismic activity. But what can Oklahoma do to slow or stop the frequency of these earthquakes? I will address the issue in this post. Continue reading
At 1:04 AM on the morning of June 10th, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake hit Borrego Springs, CA, in eastern San Diego County. The earthquake along the San Jacinto Fault triggered hundreds of smaller aftershocks and residents as far away as Los Angeles could feel the shaking. I live approximately 100 miles away from the epicenter, and it woke me up. The earthquake caused renewed discussions among seismologists and the media about whether “the big one” will hit any time soon. We expect earthquakes in Southern California, but when we talk about Oklahoma, it is not a place that usually comes to mind when we think of active earthquake regions in the United States. However, just one day before the magnitude 5.2 quake in California, Oklahoma experienced 3 earthquakes, the largest of which was a magnitude 3.7. These earthquakes in Oklahoma are not an isolated incident. Continue reading
What a difference a year makes. In Texas and Oklahoma, a year can almost put an end to the drought that has ravaged those states for years. One year ago, 90% of Texas was experiencing some level of drought, and exceptional drought covered approximately 25% of the state according to the US Drought Monitor. Oklahoma also experienced a similar turnaround. One year ago, some level of drought covered 94% of Oklahoma and exceptional drought covered 26.47% of the Sooner State. However, the rain deluge and the devastating floods that accompanied the rain have almost completely alleviated the drought conditions in both states. Continue reading