The Norman Transcript

State/Region

October 27, 2013

Quakes will stay

PRAGUE — This central Oklahoma town of 2,400 claims two things as its own: Olympian Jim Thorpe and an annual kolache festival that honors its Czech heritage every May. Some locals here say the place should be known for a third: earthquakes.

“There’s been more than 10 or so,” since a magnitude 5.6 quake hit west of town in November 2011, damaging buildings and rattling nerves, said longtime resident Mark Treat, 54, sounding downright blase about them all.

Quakes with 3.4, 3.3, 3.1, 2.9 and 2.3 magnitudes have all rumbled near this town about 60 miles east of Oklahoma City in the past two years, and a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests a quake “swarm” continues to plague central Oklahoma, which is far more accustomed to dealing with natural disasters that come from above than below.

Since January 2009, more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have hit central Oklahoma — marking a significant rise in the frequency of the seismic events, the survey reports. The study released Tuesday shows that one to three magnitude 3.0 earthquakes or larger occurred yearly in Oklahoma from 1975 to 2008, but the average grew to around 40 earthquakes per year from 2009-2013.

The swarm includes the 2011 quake, the largest ever recorded in Oklahoma, which damaged 200 buildings, shook a football stadium and could be felt throughout the state and in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, northern Texas and some parts of Illinois and Wisconsin. Until then, the biggest earthquake in the state had been a 5.5 magnitude temblor that jolted the city of El Reno, located just west of Oklahoma City, in 1952.

Scientists continue to study why the earthquake rate has changed so dramatically throughout this swath of Oklahoma — including possible links to wastewater disposal related to oil and gas production in the region.

Some researchers and environmental groups have long held that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” — a process employed by energy companies that involves forcing millions of gallons of water, sand and other additives deep into the ground to free up pockets of natural gas — is a chief culprit for the rise in earthquake activity throughout Oklahoma and other states.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Scam targets migrants

    HOUSTON — Scammers have been preying on the relatives of unaccompanied young migrants being held at two U.S. military bases by conning them into paying nonexistent fees to be reunited with their loved ones, officials said....

    July 27, 2014

  • Trial delayed for man in murder case

    DUNCAN — The first-degree murder trial of a Velma man charged with killing a 16-year-old girl has been delayed until January....

    July 27, 2014

  • Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing

    OKLAHOMA CITY — One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. What some consider a far-flung ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Man found dead outside Tulsa home

    TULSA — Police in Tulsa are investigating the death of a man whose body was found outside a house on the city’s north side....

    July 27, 2014

  • McCain: Arizona execution ‘torture’

    TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture....

    July 26, 2014

  • Okla. food pantries struggle to meet demand

    TULSA — Food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across Oklahoma are scrambling to meet demand for food from, among other groups, kids left in the lurch because they can’t get the free and discounted meals offered when schools are in ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Rogers County clerk sues paper over stories

    CLAREMORE — The Rogers County clerk has sued the Claremore Daily Progress and its government reporter over claims the newspaper painted her in a false light and invaded her privacy. Clerk Robin Anderson filed a lawsuit Thursday against ...

    July 26, 2014