Oklahoma Earthquakes: Series Of Small Earthquakes Rattle Oklahoma Residents

David ZalubowskiAP Images

Thousands of people across Oklahoma woke up to a shaky Monday morning after a series of earthquakes struck the state.

According to an ABC News report, there were at least three “significant” earthquakes in Oklahoma within the past couple of hours. The largest of the three was the last earthquake that struck the town of Pawnee at around 1:44 p.m. local time. This was a magnitude 3.7 temblor.

Before this tremor, the same region had reported two other earthquakes. The first one, a magnitude 3.2 earthquake, was reported at 9:25 a.m. local time. This was followed by another quake just three minutes later. This one was a magnitude 3.3. Apart from these three “significant” earthquakes, a magnitude 2.5 tremor was also reported a few hours ago. This one was, however, epicentered at Yale and not Pawnee, as was the case with the others.

Data from the U.S. Geological Survey also confirmed that the three earthquakes had occurred. USGS data also confirmed that all three earthquakes were quite shallow in nature and took place at a depth of less than five kilometers from the surface.

The ABC News report added that there were no reported injuries or signs of damage caused by the earthquakes. This is attributed to the shallow nature of the quakes and, more importantly, the fact that all the earthquakes were of magnitude 3.7 and below. A consensus among geologists is that magnitude 4 or lesser earthquakes are not considered large enough to cause damage.

The latest series of quakes in Oklahoma has led to a renewed interest in the geological changes that some areas in the state have gone through in the span of a few decades. Ever since the first earthquake in Oklahoma was recorded back in 1918, there has been a steady increase in the frequency of quakes in the region. While this was considered normal initially, things changed after 2009 after the region experienced a significant spike in the number of earthquakes. Many scientific studies have since indicated that fracking could be a reason for the increased geological activity in the area. For the uninitiated, the process of fracking involves injecting liquids into rocks at high pressures to extract oil or gas trapped inside it.

Since 2009, there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and above to hit the region as well. For comparison, before 2009, there were only two recorded earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 and above to hit Oklahoma. This has now increased to several hundreds of quakes in a year. Just to give an idea about the number of earthquakes reported from Oklahoma in the recent past, this is what data from EarthQuake Track for the last few days reveal.

  • Four earthquakes in the past 24 hours
  • 18 earthquakes in the past seven days
  • 72 earthquakes in the past 30 days
  • 1,830 earthquakes in the past 365 days

The year 2016 was also when Oklahoma experienced its largest earthquake ever. On September 3, 2016, a massive magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the state. It was initially reported to be magnitude 5.6. However, it later became evident that it was slightly stronger than the magnitude 5.6 quake that hit the region back in 2011. Incidentally, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the state was also epicentered around Pawnee. The news of these three earthquakes in Oklahoma come just a few days after we reported about three much larger earthquakes of magnitudes 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6 that hit the town of Hawthorne located near the Nevada-California border.

[Featured Image by David Zalubowski/AP Images]