The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased “remarkably” since 2013, leading experts to believe an earthquake with a 5.5 magnitude or greater could strike in the state’s central area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Oklahoma has seen increased earthquake activity since 2009, including 20 quakes with a 4.0 to 4.8 magnitude and the state’s largest quake on record — a 5.6 in November 2011, according to USGS.
That quake, which struck some 50 miles east of central Oklahoma City in Prague, badly damaged several buildings and homes.
This includes the home of Jackie Dill, who tells KTLA sister station KFOR that her house buckles each time seismometers catch any ground quaking.
“I’m really fighting the tears because I’ve done a lot of crying trying to figure out, what am I going to do?” she says of the thought of losing her house, which is located in the town of Coyle. “It’s our homes, it’s where we live, it’s my heart and it’s ripping it apart, that’s what it’s doing.”
Analysts believe wastewater being injected into deep geologic formations is likely a contributing factor to the increased quake activity, including the 2011 incident.
“A recent publication by the USGS suggests that a magnitude 5.0 foreshock to the 2011 Prague, Okla., earthquake was human-induced by fluid injection; that earthquake may have then triggered the mainshock and its aftershock,” USGS states.
Since the Prague quake, the regulatory agency Oklahoma Corporation Commission has focused on rethinking how the area proceeds with oil and gas exploration, spokesman Matt Skinner tells KFOR.