Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rockin' and Rollin'

Apparently there was a 5.1 earthquake in North-Central Oklahoma today. Having lived through several earthquakes measuring about 5 on the Richter Scale, that's a significant roller. Plates can get broken. Masonry and windows can crack. If it happens in a 3rd World country you would expect to see people buried under shabbily-constructed buildings.

But earthquakes in Oklahoma were not a regular thing until recently. They began in earnest after old oil wells were revived by fracking, starting in 2008 and really picking up steam (get it?) in 2012. Now Oklahoma actually has more significant shakers than California does.

There's a lot of controversy about fracking, but there's very little question that it does cause earthquakes. And here in earthquake country that would be making a bad situation worse. Nonetheless, we regularly have to fight off oil companies who want to frack in areas here in California where there was once easy oil, but now it's harder to get to and process. Unless, of course, you frack.

When you see things like this happen often enough you become convinced that most corporate entities care little about environmental or even socio-economic damage done when increased profit margins are tantalizingly close.

But you don't have to be Einstein to figure out that some things must be opposed, even when it's going to 1) bring in more jobs, 2) bring more revenue into state coffers, or 3) "stimulate" the economy. Those are often listed as good reasons to do damaging things, which is all well and good....until your walls begin to crack and your windows break. Or Grandma gets buried under the rubble that was once the back porch.

And even if you live in a well-made building that only suffers "minor" damage -- meaning Grandma is OK and so is most of your porch -- earthquake insurance (if you have it; many choose not to) typically comes with a hefty deductible -- usually 10 to 20 percent of the total cost of your property, so for most, it won't help with actual damage, just complete destruction, should that happen.

I wonder how Oklahomans are feeling about their decision to frack in light of the ground under their feet literally rebelling against the intrusion.

Mother Nature always, I repeat, always, gets the last word. You would think that in 160 million years of living on this planet, our species would have figured that out by now.


  1. I've had personal experience with fracking and earthquakes. There is a lot of fracking in Northeast Ohio, and now plenty of small earthquakes. A few years ago our well was damaged and we had to have a new one drilled at the cost of about $10,000!

    The well driller said the damage was probably caused by one of the earthquakes. Homeowners insurance would not cover it, and there was no way to sue because it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Although the well driller had no doubts.

    I have been against fracking for ecological reasons and now for personal reasons.

    Fracking is not safe for the environment. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

    1. Agreed, Molly! So sorry that happened to you. Must have been extremely frustrating.

  2. As in sure you know, Fracking out here is a constant debate. Ohio has done reasonably well at keeping it out, though much of that could be that the majority of the deep oil is in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It's such a shame as those are truly stunning areas of dense forest, rolling hills, and mountains where all of the sudden you see a chopped-off mountain top. They are having odd little earthquakes too.

    1. I have heard that, too! My ancestral family hails from West Virginia and it's awful to see what's happened there with coal production and those lovely mountains. At what price must we have our energy? So very sad.