North Dakota is Pretty Safe from Earthquakes
Earlier today, an earthquake rocked Oklahoma. As for North Dakota, we've kind of lucked out geologically speaking when it comes to those natural disasters.
At 7:02 a.m. CST, an earthquake registering at a magnitude of 5.6 struck near Pawnee, OK. Some reports say the quake was felt in parts of North Dakota and as south as Houston, TX. While the tremors were less subtle here, it's thanks to the luck of geology as to why earthquakes in North Dakota are rare. Between 1915 and 2015, a total of just 13 earthquakes have been recorded in the state with the most powerful occurring in the city of Huff at a magnitude of 4.4 in 1968.
Earlier this year, a report from the U.S. Geological Survey found that six states are at increased risk from earthquakes caused by oil and gas wastewater injection wells. North Dakota was not on the list, despite hundreds of wastewater injection wells and billion-plus barrels injected underground. The Seismological Society of America says that earthquakes are rarer near injection wells in the Williston, ND Basin than in oil basins in Texas and Oklahoma. Not only that, but North Dakota is not underlain by deep fault lines where the wastewater injection could increase instability.
The Department of Mineral Resources says injection wells are permitted for specific pressure and closely monitored. Basically, the injection wells in North Dakota are better suited than almost anywhere in the country, limiting seismic activity.