FAIRVIEW — Oklahoma’s red-dirt scenery received a new addition about 21 miles northwest of Fairview on Tuesday morning.
Oklahoma Geological Survey, in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, installed a temporary seismic station in the Fairview and Waynoka area.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Morris said funding used for the project was not from the emergency funds transferred by Gov. Mary Fallin in January.
“These stations will be deployed for 18 months and will be exactly like what OGS will deploy in the future,” Morris said. “Lots of students are here to learn, and that data will help this area.”
As the wind whipped around, more than 10 OGS and OU project members helped with installation, including a solar panel.
The area is on a small hill surrounded by tall grasses with no buildings or major roadways nearby.
“We chose this quiet location because we don’t want the station to pick up noise or outside movement, like heavy truck traffic,” Morris said. “We’re hoping to get more data because we have poor coverage in this area. We want to see how the faults are moving.”
OGS Interim State Seismologist Jefferson Chang said hopefully the station will help OGS see things happen before an earthquake that could help them understand more about activity in the area.
“We can resolve smaller faults in the area,” he said. “So far (data about) the faults have been provided by energy companies. This will help those people who are disturbed or are curious about activity in the area.”
Chang said OGS has gone through state data and seen a slight reduction in activity. Based on statistics, OGS expects seismicity to continue to decrease, said Chang.
“An earthquake is like a car accident,” he said. “It can happen anywhere. You know heavy traffic intersections and more traveled roadways have a higher risk but you don’t know when and where a car accident will happen.”
Chang said Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s recent efforts to reduce wastewater injection in northwest Oklahoma impacted the placing of the seismic station.
Ultimately, Chang said he hopes the station will just provide more data for Oklahoma’s earthquake puzzle.
“I’d like to solve it, but that will take time,” he said.
Chang turned back to the station, stating that an orange drum in the ground is called the “vault.” The vault holds a sensor and a device to pump water out. Chang said the sensor in the vault is connected to a box that will store and transmit data to OGS in real-time.
The sensor can measure the motion, the waves of movement involved in tremors, and help identify faults, Morris said.
Nearing completion, one of the workers jumped up and down near the edge of the vault.
“It works,” Chang said as the sensor picked up her jumping movements.
Next, the device will covered with dirt and a solar panel will be attached. The entire setup will be fenced in to keep out cattle and other animals, Morris said.
She said besides water accumulating in the vault, the other issue the station faces is mice. Mice like to nest in and around the area, she said.
Damon Dawes, with Seismic Source Co., made the equipment used for the project and watched its installation.
“They (OGS and OU) came to us for equipment designed to their specific needs,” he said. “We’ve been here since Sunday deploying equipment. All the landowners have been happy to see us.”
The project includes the installation of about 10 new stations, Dawes said.
Dawes said the company’s business has increased since Oklahoma’s seismic activity increased.
“People are just generally interested,” Dawes said.