Oklahoma Had Nearly 150 Earthquakes in One Month!

Forty-eight earthquakes have rattled the ground in Oklahoma in the past week, contributing to one of the most earthquake-fraught months on record in the state.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma has recorded 148 earthquakes of at least a 2.5 magnitude in the past 30 days.

The numbers have made it one of the shakiest states in the United States.

"Certainly there's been a big change in the amount of earthquakes and people are feeling them," said Daniel Lao Davila, assistant professor of geology at Oklahoma State University. "I am in my office and every day or two I feel a brief shaking. These are small, magnitude 2 or magnitude 3, but you can feel them."

"There really is a hot spot right now in Oklahoma," he said.

Lao Davila said that before 2008, Oklahoma used to have on average three earthquakes per year that registered as magnitude 3 or higher.

Since 2008, they've registered "hundreds" per year, he said. That's more than their neighbors in Kansas but less than, say, California or Alaska, which sit on active fault lines.

"For the cause well we really don't know. These earthquakes have been occurring all throughout the central Oklahoma," he said.

Old fault lines that run beneath Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and Tennessee could have become reactivated, or the earth's crust could be under significant stress, or the earthquakes could be induced by subsurface activity like oil and gas production , he said.

"In my opinion it could be a mixture. It could be natural stress, and then in some areas it could be induced," he said.

Lao Davila said that geologists at Oklahoma State, the University of Oklahoma, and the U.S. Geological Survey are studying the earthquakes in Oklahoma to try and understand their cause, but in the meantime he said it is critical for residents to become educated about what to do in case of a serious quake.

"I would say the most important thing for people is to be aware that this seismic hazard is present in Oklahoma and people should learn, they should educate themselves for how to prepare for an earthquake, how to be sure they'll be safe in case another magnitude 5 occurs," he said.

 Filed under: Cities / Locations


bluesbaby5050: Series small earthquakes rock Oklahoma- record seismic activity

Earthquakes rattled residents in Oklahoma on Saturday, the latest in a series that have put the state on track for record quake activity this year, which some seismologists say may be tied to oil and gas exploration.

One earthquake recorded at 3.8 magnitude by the U.S. Geological Survey rocked houses in several communities around central Oklahoma at 7:42 a.m. local time. Another about two hours earlier in the same part of the state, north of Oklahoma City, was recorded at 2.9 magnitude, USGS said.

Those two were preceded by two more, at 2.6 magnitude, and 2.5 magnitude, that also rolled the landscape in central Oklahoma early Saturday morning. A 3.0 magnitude tremor struck late Friday night in that area as well, following a 3.4 magnitude hit Friday afternoon.

Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey who tracks earthquake activity for the USGS, said the earthquake activity in the state is soaring.

"We have had almost as many magnitude 3 and greater already in 2014 than we did for all of 2013," Holland said.

Last year's number of "felt" earthquakes - those strong enough to rattle items on a shelf - hit a record 222 in the state. This year, less than four months into the year, the state has recorded 253 such tremors, according to state seismic data.

"We have already crushed last year's record for number of earthquakes," Holland said.

Most earthquakes occur naturally. But scientists have long linked some small earthquakes to oil and gas work underground, which can alter pressure points and cause shifts in the earth.

Oil and gas exploration has increased in recent years across the country, spurred by U.S. efforts for energy independence. Modern hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is one particularly controversial technique.

For bigger quakes, so far this year the state has recorded 106 at 3.0 magnitude and above, according to Holland. For all of last year the state had 109 at 3.0 and above.

In November 2011, Oklahoma suffered a 5.6 magnitude quake that damaged more than a dozen homes and several businesses.

Wastewater disposal related to the fracking is suspected by many scientists to contribute to the earthquake activity. Millions of gallons of wastewater are typically trucked from a fracking site to wells where the water is injected thousands of feet underground into porous rock layers. That work, if done near a fault, can trigger larger quakes, according to several recent scientific studies.

Oklahoma recorded 278 earthquakes from 2008 through 2013 that have registered on the Richter scale at a magnitude of 3.0 or greater, a level that can shake objects inside a home.

Before that, from 1975-2008, the state on average recorded less than six earthquakes a year.

bluesbaby5050: Another earthquake rattles southern California after 5.1 quake!

Residents of southern California were rattled by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake Saturday afternoon, the largest of more than 100 aftershocks following Friday's 5.1 rumbler that caused light scattered damage around the Los Angeles area.

Saturday's quake rippled through an area near Rowland Heights, California, about 2:32 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor was considered relatively shallow with a depth of 5.6 miles, the USGS said.

Aftershocks are expected following earthquakes, according to the USGS. Seismologists said there was about a 5 percent chance that Friday's quake, which struck at 9:09 p.m., was a foreshock to a bigger temblor.

No injuries were immediately reported from either Saturday's quake or the more significant earthquake that struck Friday evening outside La Habra, California, which is about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Friday's temblor displaced at least 50 people in Fullerton, about 5 miles from the epicenter, because of minor damage to homes and apartment dwellings, Fullerton Police Lieutenant Mike Chlebowski said.

.. View gallery
Earthquakes shake Los Angeles
David Richardson of CalTrans photographs a rock wall where a rockslide closed Carbon Canyon Road nea …

As well, a water main break in the city forced the closure of some streets due to flooding, he said.

The quake also shook items off tables, rattled chandeliers and resulted in scattered damage to cars and property, including setting off a rockslide in the Orange County city of Brea that flipped a car on its roof.

Friday's quake was felt as far away as Palm Springs in the east, San Diego in the south and Ventura County to the north. While not large, the event "seems unusual, of course, because a lot of people felt it," said Doug Given, a USGS geophysicist.

"These quakes occur in populated areas and people try to put two and two together and predict that something more is coming, but that's simply not the case," he said.

The quake shut down Metrolink trains to allow for inspection of tracks and cars. In Anaheim, Disneyland briefly turned off park rides as a precaution and asked guests to remain seated.

But the Los Angeles Philharmonic didn't miss a note even as the quake rattled downtown Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Los Angeles Times reported.video link:

bluesbaby5050: Wyoming Hillside Slipping: Jackson Residents Evacuated!

The odds for a catastrophic collapse of an unstable hillside in the northwest Wyoming resort town of Jackson, are low, a landslide expert said.

George Machan, who works for Landslide Technology in Portland, Oregon, gives less than a 5-percent chance that the hillside will completely fail.

“I can’t rule out that there will be a big lurch, but it’s not likely,” Machan said Thursday.

With the recent catastrophic Washington state landslide, which has killed at least 35 people, destroyed homes and businesses, and evacuated at least 60 people from their homes -fresh in people’s minds with regard to landslides, nobody wants to take any chances.
The odds for a catastrophic collapse of an unstable hillside in the northwest Wyoming resort town of Jackson, are low, a landslide expert said.

George Machan, who works for Landslide Technology in Portland, Oregon, gives less than a 5-percent chance that the hillside will completely fail.

“I can’t rule out that there will be a big lurch, but it’s not likely,” Machan said Thursday.

With the recent catastrophic Washington state landslide, which has killed at least 35 people, destroyed homes and businesses, and evacuated at least 60 people from their homes -fresh in people’s minds with regard to landslides, nobody wants to take any chances.

The area at risk is the main thoroughfare just outside of the historic “Jackson Hole” downtown area, a high tourist section of Wyoming. The region that is at risk is about the size of two football fields (about 240 yards).

The latest determination from Machan is that only one unoccupied home, as well as a restaurant and a pharmacy were most in danger. But, residents of the apartment complexes were still being kept from returning home until further assessments could be made on Friday.

“It’s not as scary as it was yesterday I don’t think,” Roxanne DeVries Robinson, assistant town manager, said Friday. “It’s still moving slowly, but the imminent catastrophic scare is not as great.”

Despite the new information on the slide, a lot of surveying and measuring must still be completed in order to figure out the exact size and speed of its movement, Town Manager Bob McLaurin said.

“We’ve got to map the limits of this slide, understand what we’re dealing with,” McLaurin told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Landslide threat in Wyoming prompts evacuation, as a precaution-- http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/people-jackson-wyo-ordered-evacuate-...

11:10 AM - 10 Apr 2014

bluesbaby5050: UP-DATE : Wyoming evacuees keep wary eyes on slow slide

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A slow-motion landslide in Wyoming was tearing one home apart inch by inch and keeping about 60 evacuees from knowing when, or even if, they might be able to move back into theirs.

At the foot of the slide zone, two restaurants, a liquor store and a just-built Walgreens remained closed Friday amid a slim but persistent risk the hill could collapse suddenly.

"We have two cats and two dogs, and it's a big disruption," said one evacuee, Heather Gould. "It's hard to plan and to know what we should or shouldn't do."

Officials in Jackson were aware a year ago that the hillside was shifting and had installed equipment to monitor the movement, Assistant Town Manager Roxanne Robinson said Friday.

"We acknowledged the hillside had some sloughing up. But there wasn't anything drastic until this past Friday," she said.

The movement increased and broke a water line last week. A crack appeared atop a steep slope overlooking the businesses below and the call to evacuate the 46 homes and apartment units on Budge Drive — a quiet lane that snakes partway up the foot of East Gros Ventre Butte — came Wednesday.

On Friday, relatively warm spring weather made it a good day for residents of this fit, outdoorsy ski town to hike up nearby High School Butte on their lunch breaks.

Evacuees, however, were told to expect to remain out of their homes at least through the weekend. Police were escorting people back temporarily to retrieve belongings but not allowing them to stay overnight.

All eyes were on the slowly shifting ground — and on a weather forecast that called for a slight chance of potentially ground-softening rain or snow over the weekend.

"It may stop and it may escalate," said Jody Burkes as he inspected his home and a neighboring rental property he owns on Budge Drive. "So who knows. If it stops, maybe then they'll redo the road and see what happens. But the utilities? I don't know."

Town officials had installed temporary lines on the surface to keep the neighborhood supplied with water and gas, he said.

Damage was verified at only one home, one vacant for the past year. Inside, wood floors had separated and cabinets were falling off the kitchen walls, town officials said.

The house was directly atop the slide zone.

"There's a crack in the earth that goes right beneath that house, right through the middle of that house," Robinson said.

Below the slide zone, pavement was bulging and buckling in the Walgreens parking lot and in a gutter along Budge Drive. A large crack in a concrete retaining wall was widening.

Still, a geologist put the risk of sudden release at just 5 percent. Some homeowners expressed relief after officials said at a town meeting Thursday that only the home already falling apart was at high risk.

"We feel pretty confident our house will be OK," Gould said.

Her husband, however, had cancelled a birthday ski trip to Alaska to see her, their 2-month-old infant, and their four pets through the ordeal. They were staying at a friend's place.

Paul Barbour, evacuated from his townhome, said he was staying with his girlfriend in Teton Village, about 10 miles north of Jackson.

He wasn't too concerned about how long he might be evacuated.

"It depends on how soon I wear out my welcome at my girlfriend's," he said. "I'm cooking her dinner tonight."

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