This morning, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck north-central Oklahoma, tying the strongest quake ever recorded in that State. Since it was relatively shallow, its tremors were detected in all six bordering States.
While the cause of this earthquake remains uncertain, it is most likely related to the use of injection wells to dispose of fracking wastewater (see A Seismic Shift in Oklahoma). Once rare in the Sooner State, more than 900 quakes were detected there in 2015.
Subject to natural forces since the dawn of our species, we have begun to suffer the consequences of our own activity. Beyond the pollution of air and water, we have altered our planet's climate and are now triggering earthquakes that result in significant, costly damage and, eventually, the death of fellow humans. In effect, we are both destroying natural ecosystems and shortening the reign of mankind.