Man fears survey will disturb father's grave

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Man fears survey will disturb father's grave

Post by leeshlynch » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:11 pm

Grave matters

Man fears survey will disturb father's grave

By Kandra Wells
Staff Writer

McAlester physics teacher Dave Martin paid an Easter visit to his father’s gravesite. What he found bought him little comfort.

Martin said he was distressed to find the cables and other seismographic equipment strung through McAlester yards and streets are also in place at Oak Hill Cemetery.

“The fact that I found the lines at the cemetery where my dad is laid to rest sent me into a rage,” Martin told the McAlester News-Capital. “For me, and I’m sure others feel the same way, a cemetery is someplace you don’t disturb.”

Jason Carsten, project manager for Geokinetics of Houston, said the petroleum research company is ramping up testing and mapping operations in the area, gathering three-dimensional data to help locate oil and gas reserves. The job began more than a year ago and covers thousands of acres in McAlester and Pittsburg County.

More than a year ago Carsten appeared before the city council to obtain permits to install the equipment. The $50,000 permit included permission to place the measuring equipment on all city property, including city-owned property at the cemetery, City Engineer George Marcangeli said.

Geokinetics Inc. is a geophysical company serving petroleum and mining industries worldwide. According to the company Web site,, seismic data is a principal technology used by oil and gas companies to find new reserves and exploit and develop existing resources.

Geokinetics is based in Houston and has offices in 14 other countries.

According to Carsten and Geokinetics, Vibe Trucks are now working in McAlester to vibrate the ground in specific locations. Those vibrations are measured by the cables and other equipment seen throughout the city. Four trucks lined up one behind the other lower a pad that vibrates the ground for five to 10 minutes using hydraulics.

The survey expert said the vibrations shouldn’t be noticed by area residents, and will certainly have less of an impact than the explosions at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.

“If any of them feel anything, I’d be really surprised,” Carsten said of the affect from the Vibe Trucks. “You might feel it if you get close to the trucks. But it will be a very minimal vibration if at all.”

Martin is not convinced. He fears vibrations from the trucks could crack and damage underground concrete grave liners or vaults used at the cemetery to hold coffins, as well as costly headstones and possibly underground water lines.

“You have to show me,” the physics teacher said. “They’re making money off it. Would you expect them to say otherwise?”

The city’s engineer, however, said the survey should not have an impact on buried water lines, cemetery vaults or headstones. He also said the Geokinetic trucks will not be leaving the city streets to enter the cemetery to conduct measurements.

“We’re fairly confident there won’t be any damage” caused by the survey, Marcangeli said. Before obtaining the permit, the engineer said he spoke with city officials in two areas where Geokinetics had surveyed two years ago: Wilburton and Holdenville.

“They indicated they didn’t have any damage at all,” the engineer said of reports from those cities.

Even if something were to happen, Marcangeli said the permit includes an insurance policy covering any damage to city streets or property.

Even so, Martin wonders what might happen if the survey reveals a pocket of rich deposits under McAlester.

“I understand Oklahoma is an oil and gas state and we depend on it for our economy,” Martin said. “But if they find (something) under McAlester, is the city going to give permission to drill, baby dill? I don’t understand why they are doing this in the middle of town.”

Carsten, the project manager for Geokinetics, says the company is working within permitted areas and that the cables laid at Oak Hill Cemetery are not disrespectful. He also invited Martin to speak with him at the city’s McAlester office at 216 E. Choctaw, but declined to comment specifically on Martin’s complaints.

“I expect everyone who goes through the cemetery to be respectful of the family and the loved ones that are there,” Martin said.

Published April 15, 2009 McAlester News

Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:11 pm

Re: Man fears survey will disturb father's grave

Post by leeshlynch » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:12 pm

These survey measuring cables and devices are shown at Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester on Monday. A McAlester man is worried about the impact of the survey on his father’s final resting place at the cemetery, as well as those of others who are buried there.
By Kevin Harvison

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