Oklahoma Earthquake: Interesting Connections to the Nemaha Trend

For geoscientist working the Mid-Continent, the Nemaha Ridge and associated major faults (the Wilzetta fault, the McClain County fault, and others) are familiar structural features.  The region is seismically active, although the earthquakes tend to go unnoticed.  The Oklahoma Geological Survey has monitored earthquakes for years through its seismic monitoring stations, many of which are easily accessed by the public. (I’m thinking of the one in Meers in the Wichita Mountains, where you can enjoy a low-cholesterol Meersburger made from Hood Longhorns, as you contemplate the squiggles generated by the pens on the seismograph.)

November 5th’s 5.6 earthquake made “The Nemaha Trend – A System of Compressional Thrust-Fold, Strike-Slip Structural Features in Kansas and Oklahoma” by S. Parker Gay, Jr., published in two parts by the Oklahoma City Geological Society in the ShaleShaker all the more interesting. It’s pretty exciting to realize that, despite the rather bland surface expression of the Kansas and Oklahoma prairie, it overlies a highly complex subsurface.

We know what impact earthquakes have on the surface — we see the impact in the form of buckled roads and pictures gone askew on our walls.

However, what is the impact of an earthquake on a fresh frac?  Will the earthquake enhance the process?  Or, will it close the fracs? Will it make it easier to recover the frac fluid, or will it seal the fluid off?  What does the earthquake do to pore pressure?  These are just a few of the questions that come to mind…

As you think about these questions, please consider participating in an AAPG Education event where you have a chance to discuss your ideas and insights with others.

Last 5 posts by Susan Nash

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