Two Oklahoma earthquakes rocked parts of western of the state on Saturday morning. The earthquakes, one being the third-largest in recorded state history, registered a 5.1 magnitude and was recorded northwest of Fairview at 11:07 a.m., as a 3.9 aftershock followed about 10 minutes, according to Yahoo News.
The 5.1 earthquake will be recorded state’s third-largest earthquake, according to Oklahoma Geological Survey data. Oklahoma’s largest temblor is a 5.6 recorded out of Prague in 2011.
The second was a 5.5 recorded near El Reno in 1952. Before Saturday, those two were the only quakes in state history to exceed a 5.0 magnitude.
The Oklahoma earthquakes surpassed a 4.8 recorded on Jan. 6 for this year’s largest. Both the 4.8 and Saturday’s 5.1 were centered near Fairview, according to USGS data.
Cheryl Landes, a local dispatcher for the Sheriff’s department, said there had been several calls from concerned residents, but the damage was nothing more than a few picture frames falling off shelves and walls. “We never feel them but this time we did!”
The Oil and Gas Conservation Division of the the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday is scheduled to release details of a large regional plan to address the continuing earthquakes in such areas as Fairview, Cherokee, Medford and elsewhere in the western region, according to a release from the commission.
The plan will involve a large-scale regional reduction in oil and gas wastewater disposal for an approximately 5,000-square-mile-area in western Oklahoma, the release states. It will affect more than 200 Arbuckle disposal wells; researchers agree that disposal wells injecting into the Arbuckle formation pose the highest potential risk for causing damaging earthquakes in Oklahoma, according to the release.
All the major work on the plan has been completed, and notification of disposal well operators began Thursday, according to the release.
The larger earthquake was “probably the second largest in Oklahoma and the largest in this general area,” said John Bellini, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center.
Before Saturday, Oklahoma had been shaken by seven earthquakes of at least 4.0 magnitude in 2016. Those quakes were all recorded within the first eight days of January.
The strongest of those — the 4.8 on Jan. 6 — was among a swam of 32 earthquakes recorded over a period of about 24 hours. Through Friday evening, Oklahoma had recorded 133 quakes this year that measured at least 3.0, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
The Oklahoma earthquakes is a sign of recent surge in seismic activity in recent years, which seismologists have said may be linked to oil production activities. The state has been recording 2.5 earthquakes daily of a magnitude 3 or greater, a rate 600 times greater than observed before 2008, the Oklahoma Geological Survey said in a report last year.