What is believed to be a record-tying earthquake just hit the state of Oklahoma Saturday morning. The 5.6 magnitude earthquake was felt in the north-central Oklahoma at exactly 7:02 a.m, the United States Geological Survey said in a report.
According to the USGS, the earthquake was relatively shallow, considered to be about 4 miles deep. Therefore, the quake, that was centered in the rural areas of Pawnee County, was also felt over a wide range that spanned from Nebraska to North Texas. It could be even felt over a seven-state area, according to various sources including USA Today.
In a report by CNN, Gov. Mary Fallin said that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is telling operators to shut down 35 disposal wells that may have played a role in the earthquake which later felt by at least six states.
“This is a mandatory directive,” Fallin said.
“The disposal wells, which are linked to fracking and other industries that need to dispose of toxic waste water by injecting it deep into the earth, have recently drawn concern that they may actually induce earthquakes,” CNN stated.
“This is the biggest one I’ve ever been around,” said Pawnee County Sheriff Mike Waters. “It was felt all around us.”
The epicenter of Saturday’s quake was about nine miles northwest of the county seat, a town of about 2,000 in north-central Oklahoma where more than a dozen older limestone-and-brick buildings were damaged, Waters told LA Times.
The state of Oklahoma has been suffering from numerous earthquakes for the past years. Saturday’s quake rattled prominent areas of the Great Plains, including Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
Photo courtesy: Richard Walker/Flickr