A 4.3 magnitude earthquake has rocked Oklahoma City on Tuesday, December 29, at approximately 5:40 a.m CST.
As revealed by experts at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter of the quake was approximately 4 miles northeast from Edmonton, and the seismic movement occurred at a depth of around 5 miles.
This moderate earthquake, whose strength was initially slightly underestimated (at 4.1 degrees), was followed by another lower intensity tremor, which occurred about 9 minutes afterwards, in the same region.
According to USGS representatives, that quake’s preliminary magnitude was estimated at 3.4 degrees on the Richter scale.
Shortly after the larger seismic disturbance was felt, social networks were filled with posts related to the phenomenon, hundreds of people discussing the startling occurrence on Facebook and sharing testimonials regarding their own experience.
Some locals, who woke up with an actual jolt this morning, reported that they could sense the ground moving violently, for what appeared like an endless length of time, making them feel as if they were living in California, not Oklahoma.
News of the early earthquake spread so rapidly on Twitter, that #okquake rose to the number one spot among the microblogging platform’s trending topics.
While some individuals have captured photos and videos showing the property damage caused by the tremor, such as broken glass cabinets, cracked walls and mirrors smashed to pieces, it appears that, luckily, no one has suffered any injuries and the destruction hasn’t been that significant.
The earthquake did result in extensive power failures, affecting approximately 4,400 homes and companies across Edmond. However, the problems were promptly resolved, and the power supply was reactivated shortly afterwards.
As explained by Austin Holland and Richard D. Andrews, experts at the Oklahoma Geological Survey, it’s extremely improbable that the tremors have originated from natural processes taking place underground.
Instead, scientists believe that the recent, unprecedented wave of earthquakes shaking central and north central regions across the state of Oklahoma may be related to industrial activities.
Extensive oil and natural gas extraction has caused polluted water to infiltrate in the soil, making it increasingly more unstable and leading to unprecedented levels of erosion.
State authorities have attempted to curb the damage resulting from drilling operations by closing down several deep injection wells transporting frack wastewater and other such fluids.
Despite these efforts, it appears that the ground has already been severely affected, since hundreds of tremors have already been reported in the last few years. As geologists point out, the frequency of earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 3 degrees has spiked from 1.5 per year, to 2.5 per day.
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