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How are earthquakes affecting Oklahoma's infrastructure? Expert says it's a 'huge' issue

How are earthquakes affecting Oklahoma's infrastructure? Expert says it's a 'huge' issue

Experts review damage to infrastructure that may accumulate over time

Tulsa World
By Corey Jones
May 19, 2018

Correction: The two bridges with minor cosmetic damage after the Pawnee earthquake were found to be structurally safe by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

As earthquake swarms continue to pop off in Oklahoma, experts are turning their attention toward critical infrastructure and what sort of long-term damage may be inflicted by frequent, low-level shaking.

But it’s not just the swarms — Oklahoma’s seismic activity in general is enormous compared to the historic tectonic level of only a couple of 3.0 quakes a year. For example, a Stanford University study published in December 2016 found that the seismic energy released the prior eight years was equivalent to ”more than 1,900 years of naturally occurring energy.

Consequently, soil, concrete and steel structures are “susceptible to fatigue and other unique failure modes” under these conditions that were never considered during design, according to an article in the May volume of Leading Edge, a publication of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

“The long-term, low-level shaking associated with repeated minor to moderate magnitude earthquakes exposes infrastructure to possible failure modes not normally considered in design,” the article states... FULL ARTICLE

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