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December 26, 2013

Earthquakes rattle parts of state on Christmas

OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t Santa and his reindeer landing on roofs that shook some central Oklahoma homes on Christmas.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that two small earthquakes struck the area on Wednesday, in addition to one that struck the night before.

The first, a 2.7-magnitude earthquake, struck near Spencer at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. A USGS preliminary report says the earthquake’s epicenter was 5 miles north of Spencer and 11 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. The second earthquake hit a little before 3 p.m. That 2.9-magnitude quake was centered 19 miles south of Norman.

The area also had a Christmas Eve earthquake, a 3.7-magnitude trembler near Edmond around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Preliminary USGS data show that the quake was centered about 6 miles east-northeast of Edmond and 14 miles north of Midwest City.

All three had a depth of about 3 miles.

Earthquakes have become more common in Oklahoma in the past several years. A recent study by the USGS says the seismic activity is here to stay, although it’s not clear why.

Only a handful of earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 3.0 occurred each year in Oklahoma from 1975 to 2008. But since 2009, the USGS says, more than 200 temblors have hit central Oklahoma. Many are based around the Oklahoma City area.

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