This morning the town of Harrah, OK was awoken in the middle of the night by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake and a couple of hours later just a little further to the west a 4.0 earthquake shook the region. This would be epic news just 10 years ago, seeing as how Oklahoma had basically no earthquakes in it's 100 year history. But, in the last five years it's been shaken consistently by small to mid-level earthquakes that are increasing in activity and sometimes in intensity.
I've felt some of these quakes myself. I felt one just as recently as last week, it woke me up at 4 a.m. and lasted for a few seconds. I felt one when I lived in western Oklahoma when a quake over 5.0 shook the region. I've even felt one at work that shook enough to make me think a forklift somehow drove into the wall.
I was talking to a buddy the other day who had just moved here about a year ago. He had always assumed Oklahoma had always had the quakes, just like tornadoes and drought. I had to tell him that wasn't the case. Up until 2008, we had basically no seismic activity and if you asked someone back then if they thought Oklahoma would ever experience an earthquake they would probably laugh. No one is laughing now.
A lot of people are beginning to believe it could be caused by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". It's really ironic since Oklahoma is one of the top oil and gas producing states, and some of the country's top oil and gas businesses reside here which contributes to the strong economy. So, it will be interesting to see what side of the fence people who are living through these quakes everyday will fall to as it affects people's homes, investments and general safety.
State officials have begun looking into the quakes and have ordered studies to be done to see if a determination can be made as to what is causing them. This is the first step to see if anything can be done to stop them. Until then, we'll all have to deal with the shaking along with the twisting skies. Oklahoma can be called a lot of things, but you can't say it isn't interesting around here.
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