Quantcast

Strong Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma, Felt in 7 Other States

Energy

A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck northern Oklahoma Thursday night, followed by two more. Kansas and other neighboring states also felt the quakes miles away.

Oklahoma City's KOCO 5 News reports that the first and strongest earthquake was Oklahoma's largest since 2011.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the 1:42 a.m. quake's epicenter was centered 8 miles southwest of Cherokee, Oklahoma, with a depth of 3.8 miles.

KOCO 5 News reported that there were two additional Cherokee quakes on Thursday: a 3.1 magnitude earthquake at 3:46 a.m. and a 3.7 magnitude earthquake at 6:03 a.m.

A 4.7 magnitude earthquake and its two aftershocks rattled Oklahomans as well as its neighbors Thursday night. Photo credit: Earthquaketrack.com

While there have been no reports of significant damage, both Oklahoma and Kansas have seen repeated seismic activity over the past decade, especially in recent years. The frequent temblors have been tied to the states' drilling booms.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey concluded that the injection of wastewater byproducts into deep underground disposal wells from fracking operations has awakened the state's dormant fault lines.

Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than anywhere else in the world, a spokesperson from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported.

Before 2009, Oklahoma felt two earthquakes per year, but now there are two per day, EcoWatch reported in September. This year, roughly 700 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or higher has shook the state compared to a mere 20 in 2009.

In a joint statement last year, the USGS and the Oklahoma Geological Survey said that the risk of a damaging earthquake—one larger than magnitude 5.0—has significantly increased in central Oklahoma.

As for Kansas, the Washington Post reported last month that the number of earthquakes in the state have jumped from only four in 2013 to a whopping 817 in 2014.

The quakes happen so often that officials in both states have been forced to shut down multiple disposal wells. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees the Sooner State’s oil and gas industry, required changes to 500 disposal wells around the state, including the shutdown of wells near Cushing, Oklahoma, which holds one of the largest crude oil storage facilities in the world.

The Kansas Corporation Commission also decided to limit the underground injection disposal of saltwater from oil wells in April.

In August, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin admitted that there was a “direct correlation between the increase of earthquakes that we’ve seen in Oklahoma [and] disposal wells.” Fallin, however, must weigh the pros and cons of fracking in her state, as the sector provides a significant number of jobs.

Still, thousands of disposal wells in both states are still in operation, which suggests that the constant seismic activity is far from over.

Many Oklahoma and Kansas residents have voiced concerns about the earthquakes:

In addition to Oklahoma and Kansas, other major oil and gas states such as Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio and Texas have observed more earthquakes that are linked to wastewater injection activity, IBTimes reported.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

It’s Official: Oklahoma Experiences More Earthquakes Than Anywhere Else in the World

Portland Bans Fossil Fuel Export

Gov. Cuomo Vetoes Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Project

TransCanada’s Next Move? Pipeline to Mexico Carrying U.S. Fracked Gas

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coldplay playing at Stade de France in Paris in July 2017. Raph_PH / Wikipedia / CC BY 2.0

Coldplay is releasing a new album on Friday, but the release will not be followed by a world tour.

Read More Show Less
Ash dieback is seen infecting a European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in Bottomcraig, Scotland, UK on Aug. 10, 2016. nz_willowherb / Flickr

Scientists have discovered a genetic basis to resistance against ash tree dieback, a devastating fungal infection that is predicted to kill over half of the ash trees in the region, and it could open up new possibilities to save the species.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Truth in Action is a day-long global conversation on the climate crisis and how we solve it. The Climate Reality Project

Former Vice President Al Gore kicked off 24 hours of climate talks in the U.S. and 77 other countries around the world Wednesday night.

Read More Show Less
Activists highlighted the climate emergency outside Scottish Government headquarters at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh on Oct. 13, 2017. Usage of the term "climate emergency" spiked in 2019, according to Oxford Dictionaries.

By Jessica Corbett

Climate advocates and experts celebrated Oxford Dictionaries' announcement Wednesday that "climate emergency" is the Oxford Word of the Year 2019.

Read More Show Less
Using more bamboo for building could slow climate change. kazuend / Unsplash

By Kieran Cooke

There could be a way of countering one key aspect of the climate emergency by making much greater use of a widely-available plant: bamboo building.

Read More Show Less