Oklahoma Rattled by Earthquakes


Oklahoma was rattled by earthquakes early Saturday afternoon. The central part of the state was hit by a magnitude 4.5 earthquake, followed by two tremors. The epicenter was near Arcadia, which is a small town located about 14 miles Northeast of Oklahoma City, and originated approximately 5 miles below the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake struck at 12:15 pm, lasting between 3 and 5 seconds. The two tremors which followed the earthquake registered as a 2.8 and a 3.1 at 1:26 and 5:58 pm, respectively. Keli Cain, a spokeswoman from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said that no major injuries or damage was reported from any of the quakes. Oklahoma City police Lt. Jason Samuel said that while no calls were made about injuries or damage, several individuals did call the station asking what happened. The quake awoke him from a nap. Marty Doepke, manager of Pops Restaurant in Arcadia, stated that there was no damage but, “It shook a bit, that’s for sure. Everybody just kind of stopped and looked around.” Doepke said that, “Everybody almost automatically knew what it was and then went back to watching the Bedlam game.” The Oklahoma earthquake struck while kicker Ben Grogen of the Cowboys was lining up a 41-yard field goal attempt. Despite the shaking, that can be seen on video, Grogen successfully made the kick. While Oklahoma is known more for tornadoes than earthquakes, it has multiple fault lines that run through it. The state had not seen significant earthquakes until the last few years. A 5.6 earthquake occurred north of Oklahoma city in 2011, which is the worst on record; it disturbed an OSU football game on November 5 of that year. The shaking left ESPN anchorman Kirk Herbstreit wide-eyed during a telecast at the end of the game. More than 200 earthquakes of at least 3.0 magnitude have rattled Oklahoma since 2009. The earthquakes consistently shake the central part of the state and fracking is suspected to be at least partially responsible for the recent increase in seismic activity. It is believed that the earthquakes in Oklahoma may be the result of human actions such as the extraction of oil and gas and the resulting injection of wastewater into the deep underground wells. In regard to research he published on 92 earthquakes he believes were caused by man, geophysicist Christian Klose said, “The data specifically shows that human-made mass changes can advance the clock or natural seismic cycles and induce or trigger new earthquakes.” While concerns over fracking causing earthquakes is mostly speculation, evidence is mounting which suggests that it is having unforeseen negative consequences. Maps indicating locations of large-scale fracking operations also show a disturbingly similar pattern for recent seismic activity. Nobody was injured in the latest earthquakes that rattled Oklahoma; however, the records suggest that the problem is worsening. Jason Samuel said from his own experience that the Oklahoma earthquakes seem to be getting stronger and lasting longer. Tremors from the quake were even felt by residents in Wichita, Kansas. By Lara Stielow The Wichita Eagle IBI Times ABC News

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