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Drilling-Induced ‘Frackquakes’ Threatening Millions Across Central US

Oil and gas drilling has made parts of the central United States as dangerous as the most earthquake-prone regions of California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), exposing millions of people to the risk of human-induced earthquakes, known as “frackquakes.”

According to new maps released on Monday by the USGS, roughly 7 million people who live and work in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arkansas face “potential for damaging shaking from induced seismicity,” which the USGS notes is triggered primarily by wastewater disposal from oil and gas drilling activities.

“Within a few portions of the [Central and Eastern U.S.], the chance of damage from all types of earthquakes is similar to that of natural earthquakes in high-hazard areas of California,” the USGS states, with Oklahoma being the most prone to induced earthquakes and having the largest at-risk population.

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