Director: OGS work not compromised by seismologists' departure

Oklahoma Geological Survey

During a record-breaking year for earthquakes in Oklahoma, operations at the Oklahoma Geological Survey have not been compromised following the departure of two seismologists, according to its director.

"Some aspects of the longer term interpretation of the earthquake data are slowed somewhat, but work on the complex mix of geology, hydrology and seismology that must be integrated to address Oklahoma earthquakes continues," OGS Director Jeremy Boak said.

The lead seismologist has not yet been replaced, but Boak said he is hopeful the position will be filled in early 2016. A research seismologist position, vacated recently, may be filled internally soon.

"Our lead analyst is a seismologist, and we have one other seismologist who has been filling in for (the former research seismologist). We also have a seismology technician who is ensuring the network is up and running. In addition, we have the participation of a seismologist from the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, as well as a hydrogeologist and several geologists, geophysicists and petroleum engineers working on aspects of the problem," Boak said.

Boak previously predicted the state would surpass the 2014 record for earthquakes, unless the situation changed "surprisingly" in the last few months of the year.

According to OGS records, there have been more than 800 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma this year. The figure includes just over 30 magnitude 4.0 or greater quakes. 

In 2014, there were 585 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes recorded in the state, with 14 of those measuring magnitude 4.0 or greater.