A recent Bloomberg article highlights the work that U.S. safety officials carried out to assess areas of the country that could be at risk of further terrorist attacks, following the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The small town of Cushing, Oklahoma, was identified as an area of serious concern.

As the largest commercial oil hub in North America, this tiny town houses giant tanks containing 10 million barrels of crude oil, making it a clear potential target for anyone planning to disrupt the country’s energy supply and overall economy.

The FBI and safety officials in Cushing joined forces to guard the perimeter of the tanks by initiating 24-hour surveillance and planned simulations to prepare for catastrophes.

Concerns arose again earlier this year as the shale oil boom increased the amount of crude oil in the tanks to 60 million barrels. This is six times the amount that originally raised security concerns in 2001.

Now the oil hub is facing an emerging risk: earthquakes. In recent months, the areas surrounding Cushing have experienced a rash of earthquakes, taking Oklahoma from undergoing an average of two earthquakes per year to surpassing California as the most seismically active state in the continental United States.

Read the full Bloomberg article here.

Image credit: “Foggy Bottom Pump Jack” – Duncan, Oklahoma