Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Hits Southern Plains
Magnitude-5.1 earthquake rattles five states, centered near Prague, Oklahoma. No immediate damage reported, but aftershocks expected. Fracking may be cause.
On Friday evening, a powerful earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.1 shook communities across at least five states, causing concern and fear among residents. The earthquake, which occurred around 11:30 p.m. local time, was centered near the town of Prague in central Oklahoma, according to data from the United States Geological Survey.
The event prompted several people to take to social media to share their experiences, with some reporting hearing cracking walls and a loud boom. Despite these reports, there were no immediate signs of damage in the aftermath of the quake. However, the USGS warned that the threat of aftershocks would continue for some time, keeping residents on edge.
This recent earthquake is just one in a series of seismic events that have rattled the Oklahoma City metro in recent weeks. In fact, less than a month ago, the area experienced a series of earthquakes, with the most significant registering a magnitude of 4.4. Based on initial estimates, Friday's quake ranks among the top three most powerful events to impact the Sooner State since 1900.
The history of earthquakes in Oklahoma is not a new phenomenon. In 2016, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake caused moderate damage in north-central Oklahoma, with studies linking the event to wastewater injection from oil and gas production. The United States Geological Survey has previously noted that many quakes throughout the southern Plains have been tied to human activities, particularly fracking, a process used to extract oil and gas reserves.
Fracking, which involves injecting water, sand, or chemicals into the ground to break up bedrock, has been linked to triggering earthquakes and impacting groundwater. While it is still too early to determine whether human activities played a role in the most recent quake, the potential connection raises concerns about the impact of industrial practices on seismic events in the region.
The recent earthquake in Oklahoma serves as a reminder of the complex relationship between human activities and natural disasters, and the need for continued research and monitoring to better understand and mitigate these risks. As communities across the region grapple with the aftermath of this seismic event, questions about the role of human activities in triggering earthquakes will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of public discourse.