Earthquake rattles Oklahoma on Friday night
PRAGUE, Okla. (KTEN) — A preliminary 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook Oklahoma Friday night. The earthquake occurred northwest of Prague, Oklahoma, around 11:24 p.m CT. Prague has a population of about 2,000.
No injuries were reported and damage appeared to be minimal, mostly items overturned or shaken from shelves inside homes, according to Lincoln County Deputy Emergency Management Director Charlotte Brown.
“Nothing significant ... nothing other than lots of scared people,” Brown said,
Texoma viewers reported feeling the earthquake as far south as Durant, Tishomingo, Broken Bow, Lane, Atoka, Achille, McAlester, Davis, Bromide, and Hugo.
KTEN meteorologist Hunter Donahoe also reported feeling the earthquake in Sherman on Friday night. The US Geological Survey received reports from people who felt the earth move across a five-state region.
The initial quake, centered 45 miles east of Oklahoma City, was followed by at least eight smaller temblors through Saturday morning, ranging in strength from magnitude 2.5 to 3.4, according to the geological survey.
The earthquake was shallow - just 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) deep, according to the USGS - and temblors that hit close to the surface can make the shaking more intense.
At least six earthquakes, including two greater than magnitude 4.0, were recorded near another Oklahoma City suburb in January. In April, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake was among a series of six that struck the central Oklahoma town of Carney, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City.
A 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck Prague in 2011, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of the state’s strongest recorded earthquake site in Pawnee, which registered a magnitude 5.8 in 2016.
Thousands of earthquakes have been recorded in Oklahoma in recent years, many linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas extraction, particularly in what is known as the Arbuckle formation that includes the area around Prague.
The epicenter of the Saturday earthquake was nearly the exact spot of the epicenter of the 2011 quake, according to Matt Skinner, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in the state.
“That was one of the early areas where action was taken” to limit the injection of wastewater, said Skinner.
“Disposal wells within 10 miles of the quake" must stop operating temporarily, Skinner said.
The corporation commission has directed several producers to close some injection wells and reduce the volumes in others as a result of the quakes.
KTEN editor Walt Zwirko and the Associated Press contributed to this report.