Oklahoma Has History Of Earthquakes
By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
JONES, OK -- A pair of earthquakes were felt in central Oklahoma Friday.
An earthquake struck near the central Oklahoma town of Jones Friday morning, rattling parts of the whole state, including Green Country.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the 4.0 earthquake struck at 9:18 a.m. Friday. Jones is located about 17 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
Believe it or not, quakes actually are not that unusual in The Sooner State.
Scientists say the earth is moving beneath our feet even when we cannot feel it.
"Forty-three earthquakes were recorded in the state of Oklahoma in 2009," said Steve Piltz, National Weather Service.
It turns out tornado alley is riddled with fault lines, active ones, by the feel of it in Jones.
"The chair vibrated a little bit and it was unusual enough that I looked over at the digital clock here in the operations center to note the time, but I didn't even mention it to the people I was talking to at the time," Piltz said.
Steve Piltz says the event didn't really resonate - until the calls started.
A busy line at Oklahoma's Geophysical Survey Observatory in Leonard signaled something more than just a little shake.
"I knew then that something was probably going on and then within a few minutes we got the message within our system that an earthquake had occurred," Piltz said.
Piltz says an earthquake 15 times stronger than the two that hit Friday rocked Oklahoma in 1952. It was centered near El Reno. The U.S. Geological Survey reports it loosened bricks, buckled tiles and shattered glass. Aftershocks rumbled through the area for weeks.
"There's been some geologic forces at work in the state over time and they still do work," Piltz said.
Piltz says it's not the Oklahoma faults but the big one in the Missouri Valley, called New Madrid, that could really shake-up Green Country.
Back in the 1800s, an eight magnitude earthquake that's ten times stronger than the one that devastated Haiti hit the New Madrid fault and it was likely felt in Oklahoma.
Piltz says history is bound to repeat itself.
"If the New Madrid fault really lets loose with the big earthquake like it's projected, we'll feel that in Tulsa. We'll feel that stronger than we felt the earthquake (Friday)," said Piltz.
Oklahoma averages about 50 earthquakes a year, but many of them never reach the surface, so you cannot feel them.