A lot of people were taken by surprise Saturday morning when an earthquake struck at 7:02 am in Pawnee County, Oklahoma and shook the McPherson area hard enough to wake up local residents trying to get a little extra sleep on their day off.
The earthquake measured just 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale but was felt in several states as far away as Illinois and Arizona. It was the second quake of such magnitude to hit Oklahoma; the last was in 2011 when a 5.6 hit near Prague. Both were relatively shallow quakes, which is what causes the shaking to be more intense and widespread.
Earthquakes in Oklahoma have been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production using the advanced technology of hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”
Saturday’s earthquake prompted a state of emergency for Oklahoma’s Pawnee County and the shutdown of 37 wastewater wells connected to oil and gas production. Over 4,000 of such wells are located in Oklahoma statewide.
No damages or injuries from the earthquake were reported in the McPherson area.