Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) has issued a statement asking for dialogue on the increasing occurrence of earthquakes in the state.
Dorman's request comes in the wake of two tremors above 4.0 on the Richter scale in central and northern Oklahoma. He references a 4.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred early Wednesday morning, its epicenter near Lake Arcadia and the Turner Turnpike in that area.
"Just before 6 a.m., I was awakened by the earthquake that shook central Oklahoma," Dorman said. "This is just the latest in a long line of earthquakes this year that are occurring with increasing frequency. I am troubled by the unprecedented number of earthquakes in Oklahoma over the past few years."
Dorman said the increase is alarming considering U.S. Geological Survey statistics that indicate there have been more than 200 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater in 2014. There was a record high set in 2013 with 109. The state averaged two per year since 2008.
"We cannot ignore this sizable increase, nor can we ignore the rising intensity of these earthquakes," Dorman said. "It is time we thoroughly investigate what is happening and look at the science surrounding this issue. If there is anything that can be done to address the severity and frequency of these earthquakes, we should discuss those options immediately.”
Gov. Mary Fallin also said she wants to see research done on the matter, especially when it comes to determining whether or not the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or franking, should be banned. Studies have shown a correlation between the increased use of franking and earthquakes, but no direct link has been determined.
The state has commissioned a team, with the Oklahoma Geological Society and companies with energy interests, to research the matter.