February 18th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

23 quakes strike central Arkansas in 36 hours

The Earth is shaking in central Arkansas.

Almost two dozen earthquakes of magnitude 2.3 or greater have struck the region since midnight Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

The largest of the temblors, at 4.3 magnitude, hit at 2:13 a.m. Friday. It followed a 4.0-magnitude event at 11 p.m. Thursday.

No damage has been reported from any of the quakes, all centered near the town of Greenbrier in Faulkner County, CNN affiliate KARK reports. Residents reported hearing a boom at the time of Friday morning's quake, KARK reported.

The earthquake swarm is reminiscent of a swarm that hit the area last fall. More than 500 were recorded in less than a month.

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Filed under: Arkansas • Earthquake • Natural Disasters
soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. msohaib47

    whats going on in AR...first dead birds, then dead fish and now 23 quakes...

    February 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • CallitLikeiSeeit

      All the natural gas test drilling that has been going on. The drilling was mentioned in the dead bird articles.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • 0Anyone0

      I have my own skepticism as well in the bad proctices of natural gas fracking.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • tony


      February 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • the_roemeister

      only Mike Huckabee knows for sure.....

      February 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ed

      I really doubt it was because of the "natural gas drills", this drills don't cause more than 500 quakes in less than a month. If you people didn't know, this use to be a very active geological zone. The 1812 New Madrid Earthquake of magnitude 8.0 is the best example of the geological activity that remains in the area of Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois, and Texas. If we go further back to prehistoric eras, Mount Jackson was the main example of geological-vulcanology activity in this area, the volcano is now extinct, buried beneath Jackson, Mississippi. Other prehistoric geological features in area are the Taum Sauk Caldera in Missouri and Mount Pilot Knob in Texas, all these extinct now but they are now reminders that this area of the US will continue to be geologically active.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • 9CommonSense

      Don't worry. It's just the cast of the View doing tapings in Arkansas. They'll leave the state soon.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • CCUBED

      Must be due to the solar flares! I wouldn't be surprised if we see more quakes across the world. Maybe California????

      February 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic.

      The powers that be don't want any more Presidents from Arkansas. They're using HARP to wipe out the population.

      Personally I think we could use another Clinton. Thats just me though.

      February 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kahunaburger

      Dad gum...

      February 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lurker

      I was anticipating a reply about 2012, end of times, or some religious nut case telling everyone to repent. Although it is scary how centralized these things are happening in AZ.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • cecilia

      the Tea Party would tell you they must be Democrats and God is trying to tell them something.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      T Boone Pickens will tell you it's not his fault (no pun intended), and that fracking has nothing to do with it.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newt

      Volcano! Magma is moving. Likely building a new caldera underground.

      February 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • jleary

      2012 is around the corner. signed Michael Jackson

      February 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I wasn't aware that earthquakes swarm. So we could also say there was a whole flock of earthquakes in AR? How about a gaggle?

      February 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      No, it's not the birds, it's not the fish, it's not the fracing, it's not the solar flares, it's not even the hosts of The View.
      Look up the New Madrid fault system.
      The New Madrid Fault, also called the New Madrid seismic zone, is actually a series of faults, or fractures, at a weak spot in the earth’s crust called the Reelfoot Rift. It lies deep in the earth and cannot be seen from the surface. The fault line runs roughly 150 miles from Arkansas into Missouri and Illinois. In 1811–1812, it was responsible for the most violent series of earthquakes in the history of the continental United States (though there have been larger individual earthquakes). Scientists predict that another large earthquake is due which could inflict great damage to Arkansas as well as up to half the nation.

      February 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ed

      Agree Wzrd, the 1812 New Madrid Earthquake was the US' most intense earthquake in recorded history. This event was unique because the quake was an intense intraplate-earthquake, it was felt strongly over roughly 50,000 square miles, and moderately across nearly 1 million square miles.

      Magnitude 4.1 – ARKANSAS
      2011 February 18 08:13:35 UTC


      This earthquake is part of a swarm of earthquakes that began on Tuesday February 15, 2011 and is continuing. This area is slightly south of and most likely related to similar activity (known as the Guy earthquake swarm) of hundreds of small earthquakes near Guy, Arkansas from August 2010 to present. Central Arkansas has a history of earthquake activity with a swarm of thousands of earthquakes smaller than magnitude 4.5 to 4.7 in the early 1980s and another swarm in 2001 (known as the Enola earthquake swarms). The Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) at the University of Memphis and the Arkansas Geological Survey (AGS) have deployed a local seismic array in the Greenbrier-Enola, Arkansas, area to augment regional seismic stations to carefully monitor this situation. USGS scientists have been working with their AGS and CERI colleagues. (earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/nm1182.php#details)

      February 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    Tough year for Arkansas; first the dead birds, then the snow blizzard, now earthquakes, again. What's next, a flood?

    February 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ATL Transplant

      The floods happened October 2009.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernard

      I live in Central Arkansas. Trust me this is news to us. Most people cant sense sub 4.0 earthquakes. It's barely enough to make a still glass of watter ripple.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • SB

      Bernard, if the epicenter happens to be fairly close you will definitely feel a 4 & under. I live in California and so I have some experience in these matters 🙂 But given enough distance between you and the epicenter, you would be correct.

      February 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ParkChick

      dont forget about the dead fish

      February 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • swjdfdsj

      Ohio sucks. Its cold, the people are mean and wanna be New Yorkers, their cities are dirty, LeBron hates it....no one wants to live in Ohio roemesiter. Wow, roemesiter, Ohio State and the Big 12 won so many chamionships before u were born. SEC has 5 in a row, keep picking on Arkansas, who u barely beat.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • arizona

      I say it's going to be Yellowstone...just watch.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris in the center of Canada


    February 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • LaRofromNorthAL

      .. at least a thousand miles away. More likely (and with possibly greater devastation) the New Madrid fault.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      I'd worry about the New Madrid fault first.....

      February 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • suesark

      It's the New Madrid fault line that's going to be the undoing of us all...unless of course it's the volcano under Yellowstone!!

      February 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • the_roemeister

      center of Canada?? Moose Head ??

      February 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ed

      San Andreas is ok for now and it has nothing to do with Arkansas or this geological region. Best to keep an eye on Greenbrier, because it could become 'Mount Greenbrier'.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      The San Andreas fault is only one of several in that area. The big one will be where one fault after another triggers the next in line.

      Fracking is only done in old wells. Once the pressure had been dissipated and a pump jack no longer brings the product up they use Fracking. It has been around at least 20 years and, to date, has not been involved in any quakes or bird poisonings. I am not defending the petroleum industry as I loathe everything about it. However, it is better to focus on the actual problems. I live where the 2nd largest reserves in the world are, Alberta Canada. Tar Sands. Now that is a big problem.

      February 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonzomark

      Greenbrier is southwest of the southern mapped tip of the New Madrid seismic zone. However, this may very well be directly related to NMSZ and could be a precursor to a major event sometime in the future. Any seismologists or vulcanologists care to share an opinion?

      February 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Especially if those quakes start swarming that way!

      February 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Beware of the It'sNotMy Falut! 😉
      Seriously, the New Madrid system acts up from time to time. So far, there is no consensus on any probability of it having a severe earthquake like the 1811-1812 events.

      February 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lori

    Arkansas, the new California!

    February 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ed

      You mean Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas and Illinois. The New Madrid Fault affects some parts of all this states.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Soooo...

    From AOL news: Some experts said natural gas exploration, which is extensive in the region, may be triggering the seismic surge, but they noted that no direct correlation between the drilling and the earthquakes has been proven.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh

      of course the ones that would investigate it are the ones allowing it to happen in the first place, so good luck trying to prove that it is causing the quakes.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      They drill off the coast of California too.

      February 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TampaMike

      Is AOL still around???

      February 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Yeah, that drilling REALLY has a BIG effect 3-15 miles down through SOLID ROCK!
      A small hint: They don't drill on fault lines, it's really bad on the well and the drill.

      February 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      TampaMike: I was thinking the same thing! That's like getting a news report from 1995. Thanks AOL!

      February 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    That's right Lori, the new California, only not as expensive and not as criminally inhabited.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh

      at least not yet

      February 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Actually if you compare Little Rock to Los Angeles (per capita), Arkansas has the higher crime rate. I couldn't find the state to state comparison, but I figured Los Angeles was the best city to choose from CA for a high crime rate.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • the_roemeister

      plus, in ARKY you can marry yer sister!

      February 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Calm Down

    Nothing was damaged and no one was injured so lets hold off on the prayers just yet, it was probably God telling all the faithful in Arkansas THEY'RE DOING IT WRONG.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helle79

      Hahaha, totally loving this comment.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chatmandu002

    Whole lot of "Fracking" goin on.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • 0Anyone0

      Finally I'm not the only one who sees the downward spiral of natural gas fracturing

      February 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Glem Pashni

    What is wrong with praying for the dead?

    February 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gayle

      So far as we know, no one has died from these earthquakes.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Little bitty earthquakes. Doubtful anyone died because of them. Take of the aluminum hat. Pray for world peace.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      Dead people have no feelings.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      He was being sarcastic.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Because it's silly.

      February 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WiderAngle

    This phenomenon also happened at the time of the massive bird deaths. hmmm!

    February 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    @Glem, nobody died.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jean2009

    Arkansas is on the New Madrid fault line. The last great earthquake in that area was in 1811-1812 when the Mississippi ran backward. That was a 7 point quake. A 7 point quake in that area today could devastate Memphis and surrounding areas.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brymo

      The New Madrid fault would/does affect central Ark. but it is more to the east, closer to Memphis and extending north to St. Louis. Why has the more epi-central area been stable? I suspect the problem is the energy bilionaires fracking for even more money–they can't get enough of it. If our country had proper oversight/regulation over the projects of these greedy billionaires, we might have an answer. But as another poster noted, that's probably not going to happen.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern Mo native

      No, the magnitude of the 1811-12 quakes was much higher than 7. The quake awoke the President in the White House and rang bells in Philadelphia. The Richter scale was not in use back then, but some estimates place the quake at somewhere between 8 and 10. And yes, siesmic activity may well have resulted in the release of toxic gases which killed the fish in Northern AK and disoriented the birds which died en masse in the same region. When I first read those headlines, that was my first thought. That area has been very seismically active for a long time now, with numerous small quakes daily around the region. It does seem that the fault is "heating up". And the seismic activity of the region pre-dates the drilling for gas, which is a (relatively) new event, so I don't think that the drilling can fully account for it.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Take it from someone that grew up in the state, these quakes aren't causing any concern to the locals. Arkansas has the New Madrid Fault in the northeast and an extinct volcano in the southwest. The state is more geologically active than most know, so it isn't a surprise. Either the New Madrid is getting ready to move or the volcanic Ouachita region has decided to do something out of the ordinary.

      February 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Wait... The Mississippi ran backwards?

      February 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Well, I'll be...

      February 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    nothing wrong with praying 4 the dead however the living need your prayers more.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Praying for the dead makes no sense, they are dead and it's too late. Pray for the livng.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Let's be clear on one thing though. Praying for the living is just as silly as praying for the dead.

      February 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ktizzle

    I am from Ar, and with all the dead birds, fish, and unusual weather a large earthquake does not surprise me. However, there have always been earthquakes due to the location of the New Madrid fault in AR. I am more worried about how poorly our local governments and emergency aid will handle the situation if something does happen.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Yoman

    Well considering earthquakes happen pretty much all the time but never get reported and the increase is seismic stations all around the world the news sure does love to profit off of the fact that we are interested by something that happens constantly everywhere.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susanne

      Earthquakes are most definitely reported. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/ Most are so minor that most people can't tell they have occurred, therefore they do not make the news.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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