A large, moderate earthquake shook the midwest early Saturday morning, damaging property and shaking the nerves of people from Texas to Missouri. The 5.6 quake emanated from Pawnee, Oklahoma in the Northern part of the state, with reports claiming the shaking was felt as far south as Austin, Texas and as far north as Omaha, Nebraska.
The AP indicates that this would tie the largest earthquake in Oklahoma and could be connected to the increase in larger magnitude quakes resulting from oil and natural gas production:
An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. State regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes in earthquake-prone regions of the state. Some parts of Oklahoma now match northern California for the nation’s most shake prone, and one Oklahoma region has a 1 in 8 chance of a damaging quake in 2016, with other parts closer to 1 in 20.
People tweeted about feeling the quake from across the country, with a mix of humor and fright. And despite no official reports of damage, some preliminary comments by people in the area indicate that some homes and buildings might be damaged.
And for comparison sake, the earthquake that struck San Francisco in 1989 was a magnitude, 6.9. This might seem like a wild comparison at first, but there is a very large divide between a 5.6 moderate quake — with 30,000 to 500 occurring yearly depending on a decimal point — and a rarer, far more damaging 6.9 earthquake.
We’ll update and keep an eye on any developments that come from the quake, including any possible damage.