Oklahoma Hit by 11 Quakes—in 2 Days

Record number of temblors in Sooner State may be from wastewater from fracking

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 14, 2014 7:12 AM CDT | Updated Jul 14, 2014 7:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Something shook Oklahoma all night long over the weekend—and it wasn’t the neighbors playing AC/DC too loud. The US Geological Survey recorded 11 small earthquakes, most in the magnitude 2.6 to 2.9 range, over Saturday and yesterday, reports the AP; Tulsa World has a list. The most severe temblor was one that hit just after noon on Saturday, and registered a 4.3 magnitude. The Oklahoma quakes knocked dishes off shelves and cracked some foundations, but there were no reports of major damage or injuries, KOCO reports. But there is finger-pointing: at the wastewater generated by hydraulic fracturing, aka "fracking," particularly on the heels of this study indicating a link between the two.

The wave of quakes is just bolstering stats showing that Oklahoma seems to be the new California: As of June, the Sooner State had surpassed the Golden State's earthquake tally, recording 207 quakes of 3.0 magnitude or higher for the year, compared with California’s 140, according to KOCO. Hundreds of Oklahoma residents last month met with regulators and researchers to ask for bans or severe restrictions on injection wells, into which huge amounts of wastewater—a fracking byproduct—are pumped as a means to dispose of it; the AP notes that some scientists think the water could be increasing underground pressures and lubricating faults.

In this Friday, July 20, 2012 photo, pipe for a pipeline is readied for installation near a drilling rig, near Calumet, Okla.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
In this June 26, 2014 file photo, Austin Holland, research seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey, hangs up a chart depicting earthquake activity at their offices at the University of Oklahoma...   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Pages from a powerpoint presentation discussing the recent earthquake activity in Oklahoma are pictured at the Oklahoma Geological Survey at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
A chart of earthquake activity in Oklahoma from 1882 to 2013 is on display at the Oklahoma Geological Survey in Norman, Okla., Thursday, June 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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