Monday, December 12, 2005

Odd Geological Activity

Just aimlessly surfing around, I came across a story about geysers and mud eruptions in Oklahoma since Friday. (Another story here; also a discussion at Free Republic.)

My first thought was a possible connection to the New Madrid Fault Zone, but it's too far to the west. It is, however, in the Meers Fault Zone, which is still active, though in a very minor way.

Is the Meers zone becoming more active, as is happening at Yellowstone? What the Kingfisher, Oklahoma, stories don't include is whether the mud spattering up from the ground is warm or not. They also don't indicate how officials know that gas is coming out. (Other than the sound.) Natural gas is odorless; the sulphur smell we associate with natural gas is added by utility companies to help homeowners be aware of gas leaks in their homes.

There is a slight possibility the gas leak is from a ruptured line, but given the spread of the geysers around the area, that seems unlikely. The presence of mud means water is coming out with it, which might mean an area aquifer has a gas pocket in it that's somehow gotten close to the surface. Also, Kingfisher is a natural-gas producing area, so it could very well be natural.

But.... It might also be magma below the crust is moving closer to the surface, as it happening at Yellowstone. That's not a real danger, as the eruptions seem pretty minor, but it's something to watch. Geographically, Meers and New Madrid are darn close. Activity at Meers might mean something to folks around New Madrid.

Maybe. Most likely not. Still....

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