The United States Geological Survey confirmed Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 7:02 am that an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 shook a large portion of the Great Plains and Midwest.
The USGS put the length of the shaking at 15 seconds. And the epicenter of the quake was 15 km NW of Pawnee, OK and four kilometers below the ground making it a very shallow quake.
In addition the type of soil up and down the Great Plains and Midwest allow earthquake waves to travel much further here than they would in the west such as California or Nevada.
This 5.6m quake was the same strength of the past record holder for the strongest temblor in Oklahoma which occurred on November 11, 2011 at 5.6,
Shaking was felt in eight states including: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. And, according to the USGS website over 59,000 people reported to the site directly that they felt the quake over the aforementioned eight state area.
During earthquakes of this magnitude you have a better chance of feeling them the higher up you are in a building. For example I have friends that were staying on the 19th floor of a hotel in Jefferson City, Missouri and they said the shaking woke them up and was very scary.
Others on first floor building wouldn’t necessarily notice much unless they were very close to the epicenter.
The main concern here is that this is the second 5.6m quake in five years in the state of Oklahoma. Additionally the USGS reports that there were more earthquakes of all magnitudes (including very small 0.5 and 1.0m quakes) in the state of Oklahoma than in all of the 48 states combined including California in 2015. This is an alarming rate.
No matter what the cause one has to look at the possibility that earthquakes are getting stronger and more frequent in Oklahoma. This means it is time for Texoma to prepare for possibly stronger and more frequent quakes.
The best thing to do in an earthquake is get down, get under something (such as a desk) and hold on until the shaking has stopped. This will protect your body.
Many years ago experts said to run to a doorway and stand in it. The idea is that this is one of the strongest areas of the room. But with a room of people only one or two can fit in a door so it wasn’t practical. Now, the best thing is to get under something sturdy.
In conclusion, even though this latest strongest quake was felt throughout Texoma there has been no reported damage.
KFDX Bryan Rupp