The Edmond Sun

November 4, 2013

Locals feel affects of weekend earthquakes

USGS releases study-related findings

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Seismic activity continues today after area residents reported feeling the affects of an earthquake during the weekend.

A magnitude 3.2 earthquake recorded at 4:36 a.m. Saturday was followed by a magnitude 3.2 tremor at 7:04 a.m., a 3.8 magnitude tremor at 9:19 a.m. and a 3.0 magnitude tremor at 10:30 a.m., according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

A 3.4 magnitude tremor also was recorded Sunday. Additional tremors in the 2.0-3.0 range have been recorded today, the Geological Survey states.

One of the stronger Saturday morning temblors occurred 9 kilometers east-southeast of Edmond, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Vi Davis, owner of an Arcadia tag agency, said sometime after 9 a.m. Saturday she was assisting a customer when she experienced a strange phenomena. They looked at each other and wondered aloud if they had just felt an earthquake.

“It was kind of like a ripple that went over the roof,” Davis said. “It almost sounded like someone was walking up there.”

Arcadia-area resident Karlena Risenhoover said she was getting ready for a yard sale benefiting the historic Round Barn when she felt a brief tremor at about 9:15 a.m. Saturday.

Studies show one to three magnitude 3.0 earthquakes or larger occurred yearly from 1975 to 2008; the average grew to about 40 earthquakes per year from 2009 to mid-2013, according to information released Oct. 22, by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists are evaluating possible links between these earthquakes and wastewater disposal related to oil and gas production activity in the region.

“We’ve statistically analyzed the recent earthquake rate changes and found that they do not seem to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates,” said Bill Leith, USGS seismologist. “These results suggest that significant changes in both the background rate of events and earthquake triggering properties needed to have occurred in order to explain the increases in seismicity.”

The increased activity has important implications for residents and businesses in the area, the USGS says.

After the USGS released its data, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak encouraged residents to buy earthquake insurance. Earthquake insurance policies cover related home repairs and may cover structures not attached to a home.

Earthquake insurance premiums are determined by factors including location, age and construction of home, estimated cost to rebuild and replace contents and the value of the deductible.

Many companies won’t sell new earthquake policies 30-60 days after a quake due to aftershocks, according to the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Earlier this year, earthquakes of magnitude 4.4 and 4.2 hit east of Oklahoma City, causing objects to fall off shelves.

On Nov. 5, 2011, the largest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma, a magnitude 5.6 temblor, occurred near Prague, according to the USGS. It buckled parts of a highway and damaged a number of homes as well as the historic Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee.

In 1952, a comparable magnitude 5.5, rattled El Reno and Oklahoma City.  



FOR MORE information about earthquake insurance policies, visit www.ok.gov/oid.