Earthquake in Oklahoma: A record-tying earthquake in the edge of Oklahoma's key energy-producing areas rattled the Midwest from Nebraska to North Texas today and likely will focus fresh new attention to...
Earthquake in Oklahoma: A record-tying earthquake in the edge of Oklahoma’s key energy-producing areas rattled the Midwest from Nebraska to North Texas today and likely will focus fresh new attention to the practice of disposing oil and gas field wastewater deep underground. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said a 5.6 magnitude earthquake happened at 7.02 AM (local time) today in north-central Oklahoma, on the fringe of an area where regulators had stepped in to limit wastewater disposal.
That quake matches a November 2011 quake in the same region. People in Kansas City and St Louis, Missouri; Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Norman, Oklahoma, all reported feeling the earthquake. Dallas TV station WFAA tweeted that the quake shook their studios, too. Pawnee County Emergency Management Director Mark Randell said no buildings collapsed in the town of 2,200 about nine miles southeast of the epicenter, and there were no injuries, either.
“We’ve got buildings cracked. Most of it’s brick and mortar, old buildings from the early 1900s,” Randell said
Pawnee furniture store owner Lee Wills said that he first thought it was a thunderstorm.
“Then it just … Everything went crazy after that. It just started shaking,” said Wills, who lives about 2½ miles outside of town.
“It rocked my house like a rubber band. Threw stuff off cabinets and out of cabinets, broke glasses.”
The office of Oklahoma Gov Mary Fallin tweeted that state highway crews were checking for bridge damage and the state Department of Emergency Management would assess damage and determine how to address it.
Geologists say damage is not likely in earthquakes below magnitude 4.0.
An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production.
State regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes in earthquake-prone regions of the state.
Some parts of Oklahoma now match northern California for the nation’s most shake-prone, and one Oklahoma region has a 1 in 8 chance of a damaging quake in 2016, with other parts closer to 1 in 20.