2016 Oklahoma earthquake

This article is about the M5.8 earthquake. For the earthquake swarms of which this was the largest earthquake, see 2009–16 Oklahoma earthquake swarms.
2016 Oklahoma earthquake
Oklahoma City
Date September 3, 2016
Origin time 12:02:44 UTC
Magnitude 5.8 Mw
Depth 5.4 kilometers (3.4 mi)
Epicenter 36°25′48″N 96°55′55″W / 36.430°N 96.932°W / 36.430; -96.932Coordinates: 36°25′48″N 96°55′55″W / 36.430°N 96.932°W / 36.430; -96.932
Type Strike-slip
Areas affected United States
Max. intensity VII (Very Strong)
Casualties 1 injured

Part of the 2009–16 Oklahoma earthquakes

The 2016 Oklahoma earthquake occurred on September 3, 2016 near Pawnee, Oklahoma. Measuring 5.8 on the moment magnitude scale, it is the strongest in state history.[1][2] It is tied with the 2011 Virginia earthquake as the strongest in the central and eastern United States in the preceding 70 years.[3]


The initial quake was followed by nine local aftershocks between magnitudes 2.6 and 3.6 within three and one-half hours.[4] Some news reports indicated that the earthquake was felt as far south as San Antonio, Texas, as far north as Fargo, North Dakota, as far east as Memphis, Tennessee, and as far west as Gilbert, Arizona.[5][6] The earthquake caused moderate to severe damage around the epicenter, especially in Pawnee, where various buildings were damaged.[7][8] Damages were recorded 300 miles from Pawnee in the Kansas City area at the Wyandotte County, Kansas courthouse, which sustained a crack from the roof to the ground.[9] One person was injured as a result of the earthquake: in Pawnee, a man was hit by a falling chimney.[4][10]

The earthquake was the largest ever recorded in the state, substantially exceeding a 5.1 magnitude earthquake which struck near Fairview in February 2016 and slightly more powerful than the 5.7 magnitude 2011 Oklahoma earthquake in Prague, Oklahoma. It occurred amid a significant increase in induced earthquakes in the central and eastern United States over the seven preceding years. Oklahoma in particular saw earthquake rates increase over two hundred times between 2009 and 2016, from a background average of one to three a year, between 1975 and 2008. It experienced 585 quakes of magnitude 3 and larger, in 2014, compared with only 100 in 2013. This was over three times the number experienced by seismically active California in 2014.[11][12][13][1]

Following the earthquake, Pawnee Nation declared a state of emergency and closed off several of its buildings until such time as the damage could be examined.[14] Regulators in Oklahoma ordered 37 wastewater disposal wells in the vicinity of the earthquake (see map in citation) to be rapidly closed.[15][16] Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County where the worst of the damage was located.[17][18] Thirty-two additional wells were shut down by the Environmental Protection Agency because they were determined to be located too close to the newly discovered fault on which the earthquake occurred.[19]

See also


  1. 1 2 "M5.8 - 15km NW of Pawnee, Oklahoma". United States Geological Survey. September 7, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  2. "Magnitudes for Oklahoma Earthquakes Shift Upward". United States Geological Survey. September 7, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  3. Initial Assessment of the Intensity Distribution of the 2011 Mw 5.8 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, GeoScienceWorld, Susan E. Hough, July 2012, First Published on July 26, 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  4. 1 2 Sally Asher; Violet Hassler (September 3, 2016). "OCC calls for shutdown of wells, governor declares emergency in wake of 5.6 quake in Oklahoma". Enid News & Eagle. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  5. Miller, Ken (September 3, 2016). "Record-Tying Oklahoma Earthquake Felt as Far Away as Arizona". AP. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  6. Stephenson, Lauren (September 3, 2016). "Earthquakes Like The One In Oklahoma Could Be Humans' Fault". Newsy. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  7. Keller, Meredith (September 5, 2016). "Couple of 50 years loses home to Saturday's 5.6 earthquake". Fox 25 News. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  8. EndPlay (September 3, 2016). "Pawnee building collapses during massive earthquake". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  9. Oklahoma earthquake causes damage to Wyandotte County Courthouse, KSHB, Ali Hoxie, September 8, 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  10. Duren, Dee. "Pawnee Man Injured Protecting Child In Earthquake". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  11. Soraghan, Mike (January 5, 2016). "EARTHQUAKES: Shaken more than 580 times, Okla. is top state for quakes in 2014". EnergyWire. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  12. Kuchment, Anna (March 28, 2016). "Drilling for Earthquakes". Scientific American. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  13. O'Donoghue, Amy Joi (May 3, 2016). "Report highlights earth-shattering increases in central U.S. seismic hazards". Deseret News. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  14. Remer, Jessica (September 3, 2016). "Pawnee Nation declares state of emergency after earthquake". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  15. "USGS: 5.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Oklahoma". KFOR-TV. September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  16. Tobben, Sheela (September 3, 2016). "Oklahoma Quake Triggers Closing of Fracking Waste-Disposal Wells". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  17. "Gov. Fallin Declares State Of Emergency For Pawnee County After Quake". www.news9.com. September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  18. "The Latest: Oklahoma governor declares emergency after quake". The Associated Press. September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  19. Murphy, Sean (September 12, 2016). "Oklahoma, EPA shutter 32 wells in new earthquake-prone area". The Associated Press. Retrieved September 14, 2016.

External links

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