November 7th, 2011
10:30 AM ET

Oklahoma can expect more quake aftershocks, USGS says

Aftershocks from Saturday's 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma are likely to continue for weeks or even months, the U.S. Geological Survey says, but rattled residents can expect them to decrease in intensity.

The USGS says dozens of aftershocks from the temblor, and a 4.7-magnitude foreshock, have been recorded since the 5.6 quake hit at 10:53 CT Saturday night.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey says the quake was the largest ever to strike in the state, topping a 5.5-magnitude temblor that struck on April 9, 1952.

Saturday's quake was centered about four miles east of Sparks, in Lincoln County, Oklahoma. The USGS says on its website that it has not been able to determine what fault line the quake occurred on, but scientists are focusing on the Wilzetta fault, which they describe as one of a series of small faults that formed in the area about 300 million years ago. If the Wilzetta fault did rupture Saturday, it would be the first time a surface-rupturing quake has been recorded on it.

All previous surface-rupturing quakes in Oklahoma have occurred on the Meers fault, in the south-central portion of the state, the USGS says.

Damage from Saturday's quake was slight, with The Oklahoman newspaper reporting minor damage to 12 homes and a buckling of U.S. Highway 62 near the epicenter in Lincoln County.

But the quake was anything but minor to one couple whose home sits near the epicenter. The chimney of Joe and Mary Reneau's home came crashing through their roof in Prague, Oklahoma, CNN affiliate KJRH-TV reported.

"Wham! It wasn't just a sudden bang,” Joe Reneau told KJRH. “This house was rocking and rolling."

But it wasn't just people that the quake stirred up. Birds and bugs were so rattled that they took to flight in massive numbers, enough to show up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather radar, CNN affiliate KTUL-TV reported. Check out the radar images here.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters • Oklahoma
soundoff (341 Responses)
  1. john

    Every time you see a commercial for coal (paid for by YOU) trying to tell you fracking is safe.... remember this earthquake.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • COlady

      "Clean" and "coal" are 2 mutually exclusive terms.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thumper

      COlady, it doesn't mean what you think it means....

      November 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. politico123

    If the cause of these earthquakes is fracking as all of the degreed geologists on here indicate, then why doesn't ND have them rampant as well. Lots of drilling and fracking going on up there as well.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JC

      Because you also need the underlying faults in the rock strata to be present...and no one knows where they all are.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • swimmer

      politico,

      Which degreed geologists are claiming the quake was due to fracking? I don't see that in the article anywhere. I'm a degreed geologist, and I sure wouldn't claim this without evidence. Hearsay and speculation is not the same thing as evidence. Earthquakes are not at all unknown in that part of the world, and some were reported before there was any drilling at all. So the cause and effect cited by most people on blogs like have more to do with ideology than science.

      JC,

      There are faults just about everywhere, including North Dakota. Many (most?) of them would be visible on seismic data. Just about all sufficiently hard "strata" will be fractured in the subsurface.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • DM Howard

      The UK is further ahead on the subject...

      http://www.businessinsider.com/fracking-earthquakes-uk-2011-11

      What's it going to take?

      November 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • swimmer

      DM,

      One size doesn't fit all. Fracking WILL cause earthquakes, depending on what you want to define as an earthquake. Every frac event will probably generate an earthquake of magnitude "truck driving on highway." If fracking causes a 2.0 earthquake, should we ban it on that basis? How about a small chance for 3.0, as in the case you cite? Most people wouldn't even feel a 3.0.

      I believe that the chance tthat a 5.6 quake was caused by fracking is pretty remote, but let's see what the evidence says. If fracking can cause quakes of this size then it should surely be prohibited. But let's base that decision on scientific evidence, and not ideology.

      People on blogs like this are outraged by junk science (and rightly so) when it comes to something like climate change, but embrace it when it suits their ideology.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • swimmer

      DM,

      From the reference you quoted:

      "Ranked at an intensity level three by seismologists, the 1.5 magnitude tremor caused no injuries or damage in the areas near Blackpool although local residents reported feeling a slight shaking."

      "Friday morning's earthquake was smaller than the 2.2 magnitude tremor that struck the Blackpool area on April 1."

      The USGS refers to magnitude 2.0 and smaller as "micro-earthquakes" which are not felt. The frequency of these magnitude quakes is described as "continual."

      Earthquakes from 2.0 to 2.9 are termed "minor" and are generally not felt, but they are recorded. About 1,300,000 are estimated to occur each year, worldwide.

      Over a million wells have been fracked in the US since the late 1940's. Where are the earthquakes attributed to them?

      I guess "fracking causes earthquakes" is a catchy headline for newspapers. Who cares what the magnitude is, or how many jobs it provides, or how much energy it provides? Hostility to the energy industry is the dogma of the day, and it trumps science and perspective. If it's bad for the energy industry, surely it must be good for the rest of us, we believe, as we fuel up our SUV's and complain about high fuel prices.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. malcolmscott

    So is this "God" showing he is mad at Oklahoma? Or is it when natural disasters happen in the "Bible Belt" it is just a natural disaster?

    November 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Stevieray

    It was Bush's fault!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Resist710

    God is punishing the Evangelicals for being psychotic.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. todd in muskogee oklahoma

    i live in muskogee oklahoma almost 200 miles away and felt it woke me out of a dead sleep

    November 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • J

      Its not even 100 miles from Muskogee to Sparks by highway... And that route takes you about 20 miles out of your way.

      At least you didnt say you live 2 thumb lengths away

      November 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MaryM

    Hold on OK, review the earthquake safety guides online

    November 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. hancy

    these r the signs of end days.....

    November 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • marycontrary

      Yes

      November 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • odysseus1965

      Well then you better shape up....if the end is coming, false prophets may be the first to go.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thumper

      The end of days has been happening since the beginning of time. What's your point?

      November 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MEF

    Arkansas also has had a big increase in earthquake activity, which residents have blamed on injection wells. Natural gas companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, use fluid to break apart shale and rock to release natural gas. Injection wells then dispose of the fluid by injecting it back into the ground.

    There are 181 injection wells in the Oklahoma county where most of the weekend earthquakes happened, said Matt Skinner, spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees oil and gas production in the state and intrastate transportation pipelines.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. DAD

    We felt that one up here in NE KS. It was slight, and quite a few people honestly assumed that it was just a really strong gust of wind rattling the houses. On the plus side, earthquake insurance is $25/year on average!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sidney A. Dewberry

    Perry from God states "God is punishing Oklahoma for kicking those Latinos around" and treating them like porkos..........unquote.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bobden

    "Fracking" was being done in Oklahoma when I was in high school there in the early 50's. It was usually called "sand fracking" at that time. I don't know when itwas started, but there werre a lot of gas wells there. There were also a lot of old coal mines there. Maybe the combination of old tunnels in the ground and "fracking" is causing the quakes.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Maybe the big Yosi Volcano is getting ready...

    November 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RMc

    Obviously Iran has developed, and successfully tested, an Earthquake causing superweapon. We must rebuild, or the Taliban wins. Pray harder or G will continue to punish you heathens.... ps dont forget to donate $. If there are any better reasons you can think of this happening, I wanna hear em... ... ... ... didnt think so.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. todd in muskogee oklahoma

    i dont think fracking is causing this but i know that it has negative effects on our environment i have family in pennsylvania that can no longer drink their water cause of it don't get me wrong im not anti fracking it has to be done but it has its negatives

    November 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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