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Earthquake ‘Warning’ Issued for Oklahoma

(U.S. Geological Survey)

(U.S. Geological Survey)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has issued an earthquake warning for Oklahoma. This is the first earthquake warning east of the Rockies.

Earthquake warnings are more commonly issued for Western states following large earthquakes, to warn of damaging aftershocks. However, the USGS hopes issuing this warning in Oklahoma will help residents be more prepared for the possibility for a large earthquake.

“The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased remarkably since October 2013 – by about 50 percent – significantly increasing the chance for a damaging magnitude 5.5 or greater quake in central Oklahoma.”- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS)

The U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey found that 145 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred in Oklahoma from January 2014 through May 2nd, 2014. This breaks the previous annual record of 109 earthquakes in 2013. The long-term average earthquake rate, from 1978 to 2008, was two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year.

This has lead to the USGS and OGS warning those living in central and north-central Oklahoma that the likelihood of damaging earthquakes has increased.

The recent analysis from the USGS and OGS suggests that wastewater injection is likely a contributing factor in the increase of earthquakes.  The phenomenon has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases recently identified in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado. A recent publication by the USGS suggests the magnitude 5.0 foreshock to the 2011 Prague, Okla., earthquake was caused by fluid injection, that earthquake may have triggered the historical magnitude 5.6 earthquake.

The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak has recommended that Oklahomans make sure they have earthquake insurance. It’s estimated only one percent of Oklahomans currently are insured for earthquakes. You can also find tips for how to be prepared for an earthquake on the Oklahoma Government website.

We’d like to hear what you are doing to prepare for earthquakes and whether or not you have earthquake insurance. Comment below or on our Facebook page

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Lisa Sharp is the founder of Green Oklahoma. She is passionate about the environment and improving Oklahoma for future generations. She also writes on her personal blog Retro Housewife Goes Green.

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  1. Fracking and earthquakes is nuts, what more of a wake up call do we need?

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