Expert explains Oklahoma quakes

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Over 60,000 people in the U.S. felt the tremors of Oklahoma's strongest earthquake Saturday according to the U.S.G.S. and just hours ago, another earthquake shook the state. Victoria Maranan spoke with an expert Tuesday who explained more about the phenomenon.

Sadler resident, Amanda Ensminger felt the earth shake Saturday.

"I think that's what's unusual is the seismic activity being a little more persistent or more constant. It's alarming, it tells me that something is going on," she said.

But Austin College associate physics professor, Dr. David Baker said earthquakes in Texoma are not that unusual.

"Earthquakes do occur all over the world, they don't just occur at plate boundaries that's just where they're most common. But Oklahoma, it turns out, from being away from plate boundaries does have a relatively high number of earthquakes," he said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the number of earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma jumped from two to six earthquakes a year to 50 in 2009. The strongest in the state's history was felt Saturday, November 5th, with Lincoln County at the epicenter.

"The earthquake that we just had in Oklahoma 5.6 is in a medium range type of earthquake, but it has 100 times more energy than a 3.0 earthquake does," he said.

Dr. Baker said the reason why both earthquakes in Oklahoma were felt in surrounding states all the way to Wisconsin was because of the type of rock found in that region.

"The rocks and soil of the central part of the United States allows the earthquake waves to propagate further. In California, this earthquake of 5.6 may have only been felt in a radius of 100 miles or so," he said.

Even after the big earthquake Saturday and the 4.7 magnitude quake Monday, Baker said the ground will keep on moving.

"Now it's undergoing a readjustment, so all the minor quakes that are going on right now is just the earth recalibrating, readjusting to its new state. So they will be centered, the swarm of earthquakes will be centered in that area."

"I'm perhaps a little bit alarmed, I'm not worried though. I think it's just an act of nature," said Ensminger.


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